Lai Changxing, one of China’s most wanted fugitives is pending deportation from Canada, authorities said.
“I can confirm that he remains in detention,” said Shakila Manzoor, a spokeswoman for the Border Services Agency of Canada about the fugitive.
The former businessman from the southern province of Fujian came to Canada with his family in 1999 after fleeing China where he was accused of masterminding a smuggling ring that diverted six billion dollars.
Canadian authorities refused to grant him refugee status and arrested him earlier this month in order to expel him after years of legal twists.
His lawyers believe, contrary to the Canadian authorities, he might be tortured if returned to China. Legal remedies are scheduled Monday and possibly postpone his scheduled deportation on 25 July.
This matter could be discussed on Saturday during John Baird’s visit to Beijing. He is head of Canadian diplomacy.
“It would be inappropriate” to comment on this specific issue because it is in court, said this week a senior Canadian government official during a briefing on the visit by Mr. Baird to China. “However, I can tell you that, in general, Canada is not a sanctuary for fugitives,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
“It would not be a good idea for China to mistreat someone well known,” said Jeremy Brown, a historian at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
Once in China, it would be difficult for Canadian authorities to intervene. Lai Changxing “has no status in Canada. Once he is deported, Canada has no further obligation to him,” said Mr. Brown.