Beijing: China has claimed major success in bringing back hundreds of corrupt officials, who fled abroad with billions of dollars, as it brought back 312 of them from different countries to face trial, including the US where many of them took refuge in the last few decades.
The latest judicial cooperation between China and the US to arrest economic fugitives has made major progress, with more than a dozen suspects brought back from the US to face trial said Liu Dong, deputy director from the ministry's economic crimes investigation bureau.
Most of the fugitives face charges of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds and fraud involving contracts and fund-raising, Liu was quoted as saying by the state-run China Daily.
A "Fox Hunt 2014" crackdown launched in July to target suspects escaping abroad has nabbed at least 312 economic fugitives from 57 countries and regions, the Daily said.
Suspects will be transferred to prosecuting departments to face charges if police collect enough evidence, Liu said.
"As for those persuaded to come back to plead guilty, we will consider lenient punishment for them," he said.
Authorities have on hand "a priority list of alleged economic fugitives, including corrupt officials who are still at large in the US, and have requested the US to provide assistance for investigations," Liu said.
In recent years, the US has become the main destination for corrupt Chinese officials escaping punishment, with large amounts of illegal funds transferred due to lack of a bilateral extradition treaty and obstacles posed by complex and lengthy procedures.
A large number of corruption-related fugitives have fled to the US, and most are government officials or senior managers from State-owned enterprises, according to the Ministry of Justice.
Joint action from the two sides to hunt down the fugitives and confiscate their illegal assets has been positive, Liu said.
"Once we provide evidence of the suspects' economic crimes to our US counterparts for judicial assistance, they will adopt an active attitude to help us with the investigations."
If there is solid evidence that confirms a transfer of ill-gotten funds, they will "take immediate measures to freeze the suspects' assets including housing, bank savings and other investments in the US and criminally punish them, then issue deportation orders for them", Liu said.