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Shruti J. Shah
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Eric Carlson
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China Smuggling Kingpin Spared Death Sentence

From the China Compliance Digest (Issue No. 16: May 21, 2012):

On 18 May, the Intermediate People’s Court in Xiamen sentenced Lai Changxing to life in prison, fulfilling the Chinese government’s promise not to execute the notorious former leader of a massive smuggling ring.

Lai fled to Canada in 1999 and sought asylum there, claiming his past associations with high-ranking officials made it impossible for him to receive a fair trial. On 22 July, 2011, a federal court in Vancouver upheld Lai’s deportation order. Lai was sent back to China the next day, having evaded punishment for more than a decade.

During the 1990s, Lai’s underground networks in Xiamen and Hong Kong imported cigarettes, cars, and other goods, buying the cooperation of authorities with bribes adding up to 39.1 million yuan (US $6.1 million).

As Lai’s enterprise unraveled, the resulting scandal took down dozens of officials and executives, seven of whom were executed.

Sources: Xinhua News (新华社), Reuters, The Washington Post

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