China Focus: Red Notice fugitive sentenced to 8 years for graft

HANGZHOU, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Once China's most wanted fugitive, Yang Xiuzhu was Friday sentenced to eight years in jail for embezzlement and taking bribes

_92464589_chinaxiuzhu.jpg

Yang, former vice mayor of Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, was number one on a list of China's top 100 fugitives released in an Interpol Red Notice in 2015.

The court also fined Yang 800,000 yuan (121,500 U.S. dollars) and ordered the confiscation of her illegal gains totaling 26.4 million yuan.

Yang pleaded guilty at Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court and declined to make an appeal on her first-instance sentence.

According to the court, her sentence was reduced as she turned herself in, confessed to her crimes and actively returned her illegal gains.

The court heard that from 1996 to 1999, Yang took advantage of her posts as chairperson of a real estate company, vice mayor of Wenzhou and deputy head of the Zhejiang Provincial Construction Department to embezzle more than 19 million yuan in public funds.

Yang abused her power to help others and accepted money and property with a total value of 7.35 million yuan.

Yang fled China in 2003. She returned and turned herself in on Nov. 16, 2016.

On Thursday, suspect Kong Guangsheng returned to the Chinese mainland and turned himself in to the police. He was the 48th Red Notice fugitive to have returned.

Kong, former general manager of Shengli Oilfield Qingdao Petroleum Industrial Co. Ltd., was suspected of embezzlement and fled to Hong Kong in 2012.

Five years ago, China's new leadership launched a high-profile anti-corruption campaign, which has led to the downfall of a number of high-level officials, known as "tigers," and lower-level "flies" who serve at the grassroots level.

In April 2015, Interpol issued a Red Notice listing 100 economic fugitives wanted by China.

"Carrying out cooperation will create a favorable international anti-corruption environment and greatly deter corruption at home," said Song Lihong with the People's Public Security University of China.