Canada deports fugitive Chinese millionaire

Chinese authorities accuse Han Lin Zeng of fraud in a stock scheme.

Ottawa: A Chinese millionaire was deported to China to face fraud charges after Canada`s federal court on Wednesday dismissed concerns he could face torture or execution, his lawyer said.

Han Lin Zeng is accused by Chinese authorities of fraud in a stock scheme linked to a failed business merger. He fled China in 2004 but was denied asylum in Canada.

His lawyer Dan Kingwell said Han was put on a plane from Toronto headed for China at 2:30 pm local time (1930 GMT).

Kingwell and a team of defence lawyers had argued Han could be tortured to extract a confession or suddenly face additional charges that carry the death penalty once he was repatriated.

Crown counsel Kristina Dragaitis countered, "To suggest they (China) might be cute about it and use a low offence to avoid all the kerfuffle about penalties is purely speculative."

The judge agreed with Dragaitis.

In a decision announced earlier, Federal Court Judge Richard Boivin said: "The applicant`s arguments are speculative as there is no evidence that the death penalty or torture can reasonably be anticipated in this case."

Han was "devastated" by the federal court ruling, Kingwell said.

"We are under no illusions about our client`s life expectancy once he is returned to China," he said. The government of Canada, which ordered the deportation, "has effectively delivered our client into the hands of his executioners”.

Bureau Report