Lai Changxing Deported from Canada Arrived in Beijing Saturday

Wanted by Beijing and deported by Canada, Lai Changxing arrived in Beijing Saturday, after a twelve-year legal battle, said Chinese state television quoted the Ministry of Security public.

Mr. Lai has landed in Beijing from Vancouver in the custody of Canadian police and was handed over to Chinese authorities who immediately arrested him.

A Canadian court has approved Thursday the deportation to China of Mr. Lai, who is the prime suspect wanted by the Chinese judicial authorities in a smuggling case in Xiamen, the port city of Fujian province (southeast) from which it originates.

He came to Canada with his family in 1999 with a tourist visa after fleeing China in which he was accused of masterminding a network that has elapsed between six and ten billion dollars of contraband and corrupt local officials.

China has committed not to condemn Lai Changxing to the death penalty if tried and convicted. Canada prohibits the return of prisoners to countries where they could be sentenced to death.

Canada has consistently refused to grant Lai Changxing refugee status and arrested in early July in order to expel him after years of legal twists.

Canadian authorities have decided to act quickly after a decision by a federal court Thursday to deport Mr Lai, a decision that the Canadian justice had opposed for years lest he be executed or tortured.

But China has promised not to execute Mr. Lai – about 52 years – if he is tried and convicted.

The repatriation of Lai Changxing is a victory for Beijing, which is seeking its return for over a decade and the end of a diplomatic headache for Ottawa.