Larry Williams: Trade deal for Chinese crooks is good bargain

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Listen to Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB from 4pm to 7pm. Today he looks at deporting from NZ people wanted in China.
Image / iStock
Image / iStock

There are up to 60 Chinese so-called 'financial refugees' in New Zealand and China wants them back.

I'd call them corrupt fugitives: Chinese criminals on the run from the authorities using New Zealand as a haven.

The Prime Minister John Key is in China trying to get an upgrade to the FTA and part of the deal looks to be for New Zealand to sign a formal extradition treaty with China.

It's quid pro quo - we get an upgrade to the FTA, and China gets its criminals back. Looks like a fair deal to me.

Former Ambassador to China, Tony Brown, told me he "didn't think it would be as crude, or we would be as unsophisticated" to do such a trade off. Well, maybe not in political speak, but that's what it is - a trade. It's actually how you do deals. They give us something, we give them something - like Chinese criminals.

It's a good deal too and long overdue.

Here's the staggering thing - according to Brown, China has been seeking return of these criminals who have stolen up to hundreds of millions of dollars, for 10 years. It's no wonder then, when it comes to upgrading the FTA, that China wants action on criminals who have fled to New Zealand with their stolen loot.

The usual hand-wringers are, of course, appalled that we should enter into such an extradition treaty. They cite flaws in China's justice system, the death penalty and torture.

I say, don't worry about it.

First, the John Key says, "We won't extradite people to China unless they meet the condition that they wouldn't be subjected to either torture or the death penalty."

Where's the problem then?

READ MORE: Larry Williams: Correction on house prices is coming

The "no execution", "no torture" condition is apparently included in China's extradition treaties with other countries, and considering China doesn't usually execute these corrupt officials, it's no big deal. Like any other extradition case, China will have to prove to our courts that the person they're seeking to extradite has a case to answer.

Second, who cares?

This is about Chinese committing crimes in China. They knew the consequences. They're fugitives on the run, they should be dealt with under China's law. Therefore, criminals in exchange for better access for trade makes perfect sense. Get rid of them.

Anything less means New Zealand is harbouring Chinese economic crooks.

And another thing, how the hell did they get in here in the first place, let alone get residency and citizenship?

- NZME.

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