China's most wanted fugitive is in US custody after being caught with a fake Dutch passport

Yang XiuzhuREUTERS/StringerYang Xiuzhu reads a newspaper during a meeting in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, December 29, 2001. Interpol has arrest warrants for 69 Chinese wanted on charges of corruption, embezzlement, fraud and bribery, according to a Reuters analysis of its public database. Picture taken December 29, 2001.

China’s most wanted fugitive who’s been MIA for over a decade is now in US custody after being caught with a fake Dutch passport, according to Bloomberg.

Yang Xiuzhu, who fled China in 2003 after embezzling more than $US40 million, reportedly escaped from detention in the Netherlands in May 2014 after being rejected for political asylum.

Catching fugitives is “is a key aspect of the anti-corruption campaign,” Fu Kui, director of international cooperation at the CCDI, told Bloomberg in an interview in Beijing on Wednesday. “If we leave an escape here, we won’t be able to deter officials who think they can get away with corruption.”

The Chinese police have brought back 150 graft suspects from 32 countries this year, the China Daily newspaper reported recently.

The operations, under the title Operation Fox Hunt, began last year to go after suspects who left China seeking refuge abroad, often taking large sums of money with them, as part of a campaign led by President Xi Jinping to stamp out corruption. The US appears to be helping.

“The momentum of cooperation with the U.S. is very good,” Fu added. “There has been some progress and examples of success and there is room for greater cooperation.”

The Washington-based Global Financial Integrity group, a non-profit organisation that analyses illicit financial flows, estimates that about $US2.83 trillion flowed illegally out of China from 2005 to 2011.

Yang worked her way up the ranks to become a deputy director of the construction bureau in Zhejiang province, according to Nanfengchuang, a magazine owned by the state-run Guangzhou Daily.

Local authorities said in 2004 she accepted kickbacks from property developers of more than 250 million yuan ($US40.62 million), Xinhua has reported.

Yang is in U.S. custody “pending removal to China for violating the terms of the Visa Waiver Program,” ICE spokesman Lou Martinez said in a statement, according to Bloomberg. “As a foreign law enforcement fugitive, Yang is an ICE enforcement priority.”

Check out the full story on Bloomberg >

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