China: Alleged smuggling kingpin Lai Changxing 'confesses'


Lai Changxing, who ran one of China's biggest smuggling rings, "confessed" to his crime and will be prosecuted in China.



An alleged Chinese smuggling kingpin, Lai Changxing, has “confessed” to his crimes and is being handed over to prosecutors, the AFP reported.

Lai was deported from Canada after a 12-year legal battle after being accused of running a smuggling ring in the Fujian Province, that moved products worth an estimated $6 billion to $10 billion in the 1990s, in what state media said could be the largest economic crime since the Communists’ rise in 1949, The New York Times reported. He is accused of smuggling goods including cars, cigarettes and oil and bribing officials, the BBC reported.

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"Lai and other members of the smuggling gang confessed to the smuggling and bribery crimes they have committed," Xinhua news agency reported.

The smuggling ring leader fled to Canada in 1999 and argued he would face torture and execution in China, the BBC reported. Lai was handed over to China in July after he was promised he wouldn’t be executed, and faces prosecution in the southeastern city Xiamen after the investigation is closed.

Hundreds of customs agents, police officers and government officials were implicated in the case, the BBC reported. About 300 were punished for their involvement and at least two were executed.

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The China Central Television released a video of Lai signing a document while still in handcuffs and flanked by uniformed police before being loaded into an armored van, the AFP reported.

The tug of war over Lai between Canada and China has strained Sino-Canadian relations over the years. Usually Canada forbids the extradition of fugitives to countries where they could face the death penalty, the BBC reported.