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China names four corruption suspects in NZ

NZN 28/04/2017 Rebecca Howard

Four of 22 corruption suspects who have fled China are in Auckland according to a list published by Chinese authorities.

And while New Zealand is not currently proceeding with new extradition treaties it could look at a possible treaty in the future, a spokesman for Prime Minister Bill English says.

The information includes the name, gender, ID card number, former title, suspected crime, date of arrival in the current country and travel document of each suspect, according to the state-owned Xinhua news agency.

Of the 22, 10 are thought to be in the US, five in Canada, four in New Zealand, and one each in Australia, St Kitts and Nevis and the UK.

Xinhua quoted Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection official Gao Bo as saying it is the first time China's authorities have issued a notice with such specific information about overseas fugitives.

China has sought the help of Western countries such as New Zealand in its campaign - dubbed "operation foxhunt" - to round up corruption suspects who fled overseas.

In a transcript of a March press conference published on the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Chinese authorities have brought back over 2500 fugitives from more than 90 countries and regions on charges of corruption and economic crime.

New Zealand has resisted an extradition treaty with China because of its use of the death penalty.

In response to a question about whether talks currently underway to upgrade the free trade agreement between the two nations will include a possible extradition treaty, a spokesman for Mr English told BusinessDesk: "New Zealand is not proceeding with new extradition treaties right now, while we review relevant legislation. But we could look at a possible treaty in future."

The spokesman also noted that New Zealand's current legislation does not require a bilateral treaty in order to consider extradition requests from China or other countries.

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