China's most-wanted fugitive gets life in jail
Lai Changxing, once China's most wanted fugitive who spent 12 years on the run in Canada, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of smuggling and offering bribes.
The verdict, by the intermediate court of Xiamen in Fujian province on Friday, also ruled that Lai be forfeited all his personal income and be deprived of his political rights for life.
It is unknown whether Lai has appealed.
Lai, born in 1958, was the head of a smuggling ring that dated back to the 1990s in Xiamen. He fled to Canada with his family in 1999 after authorities cracked down on the syndicate.
Lai was repatriated to China last year.
According to the court, the value of smuggled goods reached 27.39bil yuan (RM13.56bil) and Lai's company evaded nearly 14mil yuan (RM6.9mil) in taxes.
Lai established companies in Hong Kong and Xiamen in 1991 and recruited accomplices.
The group smuggled cigarettes, cars, petroleum, cooking oil, chemicals, equipment and other goods past Xiamen Customs between December 1995 and May 1999.
Lai bribed 64 government officials between 1991 and 1999 with cash, assets and cars worth more than 29mil yuan (RM14.35mil).
The investigation and trial lasted from August 1999 to April 2001, during which more than 300 people were indicted, including 14 death sentences.
Thirty-one criminal suspects connected with Lai's smuggling operation have been sent back to China from overseas since April 2001.
Lai arrived in Canada, which doesn’t have the death penalty, in 1999 on a tourist visa and had been seeking refuge status. - Xinhua
Published May 19, 2012