BEIJING (Reuters) – China says it has captured 180 people suspected of committing economic crimes as part of an aggressive anti-corruption campaign targeting suspects who have fled abroad, state news agency Xinhua reported.
The campaign, dubbed Operation Fox Hunt, included the arrests of 104 suspects, Xinhua said late on Thursday, citing China’s Ministry of Public Security. Seventy-six people returned to China to give themselves up, according to Xinhua.
The announcement came three months after the government launched the operation to hunt down officials and businessmen who have absconded, often taking their ill-gotten gains with them. The government has given no recent overall figure for the number at large around the world.
The Washington-based Global Financial Integrity Group, which analyses illicit financial flows, estimates that $1.08 trillion illegally flowed out of China from 2002 to 2011.
President Xi Jinping has launched a sweeping campaign against graft since assuming power two years ago, but has been hampered to an extent by difficulty in getting corrupt officials and assets back from overseas.
China does not have extradition treaties with the United States, Canada and Australia – the three most popular destinations for suspected economic criminals. In mid-October, Australian media reported that Australian police have agreed to assist China in the extradition and seizure of assets of corrupt Chinese officials.