Chinese man deported after decade on the run in Canada found guilty of fraud

He fought unsuccessfully for refugee status and was deported last February when Canada ruled his fear of the death penalty, torture and an unfair trial were unfounded, Kingwell said.

The 66-year-old’s family complained that no members of the media were allowed into his trial on Nov. 17 or when the verdict was given Friday.

His son, Sam Zeng, one of two family members allowed into the courtroom in Chengdu in Sichuan province, said a previous lawyer who was locally hired told him he was under pressure to persuade his father to confess to the charge.

Sam Zeng said his father was the first person to be extradited from Canada to China. The two countries do not have an extradition treaty and it was not possible to confirm that claim.

Kingwell wrote in an email ahead of the verdict that the case has international significance “because it is a test case for the many other Chinese fugitives in Canada and other countries. They are claiming refugee status on the basis that they will not receive a fair trial, among other concerns.”

Last year, Canada also deported Lai Changxing, the man long considered China’s No. 1 fugitive, to China, where he is accused of running a $10 billion smuggling ring that dealt in everything from cars to oil in a scandal touching the government’s highest levels.

He was extradited after China assured Canada he wouldn’t face the death penalty. Last month, state media reported that Lai had confessed to bribery and smuggling and prosecutors had indicted him for allegedly masterminding a smuggling network.

At the time, state media said that according to 2010 police statistics there were nearly 600 Chinese suspects at large overseas wanted for economic crimes.

Zeng’s lawyer in court Friday, Zhu Yalin, said Zeng was convicted of contract fraud and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment and a 2 million yuan fine ($320,000).

The main office of the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court referred calls Friday to their No. 2 criminal court office, which referred calls to their propaganda office, where phone calls rang unanswered.

Chinese man deported after decade on the run in Canada found guilty of fraud - The Washington Post