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China graft suspect who gave self up given suspended sentence

[BEIJING] A court in China on Friday handed down a suspended sentence to a graft suspect who gave himself up after fleeing to New Zealand, saying his cooperation contributed to his light punishment, state media said.

Yun Jian had been on China's list of 100 most wanted corruption suspects abroad, accused of bribery, until he surrendered and returned to China last July.

Authorities published the list 2015 of the most wanted corruption suspects who had been targeted with an Interpol red notice, many living in the United States, Canada and Australia.

The court in the southern province of Hainan found that Yun, who had been a provincial tax official until he fled to New Zealand in 2009, took 600,000 yuan (S$121,823) in bribes, the official Xinhua news agency said.

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But because he voluntarily returned the money, gave himself up and was not judged to be a further criminal risk, the court gave him a suspended sentence, though he will have to pay a 200,000 yuan fine, Xinhua reported.

It was not possible to reach Yun or a family or legal representative for comment.

China has pursued an overseas search dubbed Operation Fox Hunt for corrupt officials and business executives who have fled abroad with their assets, part of President Xi Jinping's war on deep-seated corruption.

It has been pushing for extradition treaties but Western countries have been reluctant to help, not wanting to send people back to a country where rights groups say mistreatment of suspects is a concern and there is a lack of due legal process.