China entices corruption fugitives who fled overseas to return with promise of leniency

Associated Press

Chinese authorities are urging officials who have fled abroad to avoid corruption charges to turn themselves in before Dec. 1 in exchange for leniency or face stiffer punishment.

Corruption is rampant in China, and a large number of government officials and executives of state-owned companies have absconded overseas for safer havens of their ill-gained wealth because China lacks extradition treaties.

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Beijing launched the special operation "Fox Hunt 2014" in July to track down suspects. Police say the operation so far has brought back 128 officials from more than 40 countries and regions.

The Friday notice was jointly issued by the ministries of public security and foreign affairs, the supreme court and the supreme prosecuting office. It says those who should return willingly could get leniency and even get exonerated.