Top Chinese fugitive lived in wealthy Auckland suburb

By Sam Hurley

Chen Xingming was seen by residents in an Auckland suburb. Photo / Supplied
Chen Xingming was seen by residents in an Auckland suburb. Photo / Supplied

One of China's top five most wanted fugitives was hiding in an affluent Auckland suburb recently, residents tell the Herald.

Chen Xingming, 71, is suspected by the Chinese government of embezzling public funds when he was the director of strategic research and planning section for the China Power Corporation.

It is claimed he transferred large amounts of money to private accounts.

The Chinese government believed he was living on Compass Point Way, Half Moon Bay, and Herald investigations suggest Xingming did live on the street.

Neighbours positively identified a photo of Xingming, who was reportedly born in the Chinese city of Changchun, and identified the house he was said to be living in.

However, Xingming is no longer at the house, which has been sold several times; the most recent sale being last December, according to property records.

According to China's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), Xingming fled to New Zealand on June 5, 2002.

He was on China's corruption most wanted list, released last Friday. The CCDI ranked him at five.

Three other wanted Chinese citizens were identified on the list as living in Auckland and are being sought as part of the Chinese intelligence operation "Sky Net".

However, the Ministry of Justice would neither confirm nor deny if China has made a formal request for the extradition of Xingming or the other three wanted people.

"The ministry does not confirm extradition requests until they are before the courts or otherwise in the public domain," a spokesman said.

"However, I can advise there is only one extradition request from the People's Republic of China before the New Zealand Government and, as that is in the public domain, I can confirm it involves Mr Kyung Yup Kim."

Kim, a New Zealand resident, is wanted by China to face murder charges for the death of Peiyun Chen in 2009.

Last September, Kim was granted bail after more than five years at Mt Eden prison, believed to be one of the longest time served in New Zealand without offending being proven.

On November 30, 2015 Justice Minister Amy Adams ordered his extradition to China, however, the decision was successfully challenged by judicial review in a judgment delivered in July.

Kim's case remains the subject of litigation before the High Court.

The justice ministry spokesman said New Zealand's extradition legislation does not require a bilateral treaty to send or receive extradition requests to and from other countries, a detail also highlighted by a spokesman for Prime Minister Bill English.

The PM's spokesman also said New Zealand was not proceeding with new extradition treaties, while a review of relevant legislation was under way.

"But we could look at a possible treaty in future," the spokesman said.

"On Premier Li's [Keqiang] recent visit to New Zealand, he and the PM agreed that they would continue to discuss it."

The PM's spokesman said bilateral co-operation on extradition will "continue in individual cases under the current legislation where the required conditions are met".

A police spokesman said it did not comment on matters involving investigations by overseas law enforcement jurisdiction.

However, New Zealand Police is part of Interpol, the global network of law enforcement jurisdictions.

"On occasion New Zealand Police conducts inquiries on behalf of overseas jurisdictions," the spokesman added.

William Yan, also known as Bill Liu, Yang Liu and Yong Ming Yan, was in the past ranked No 5 on the "Sky Net" list.

William Yan returned to face fraud charges. Photo / Jason Oxenham
William Yan returned to face fraud charges. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Last November, Yan voluntarily returned to China to face fraud charges. He arrived back in New Zealand in January.

More than $40 million of Yan's assets were frozen in 2014 as Kiwi detectives worked closely with Chinese authorities. Yan settled with New Zealand Police and paid $42.85m last August as a "full and final" settlement without admission of criminal or civil liability.

Under a previous Chinese extradition campaign, "Fox Hunt", almost 700 fugitives suspected of economic crimes returned.

Chinese President Xi Jinping discussed "Fox Hunt" with former Prime Minister John Key during a visit to New Zealand in 2014.

China's "most wanted" in New Zealand

Jiang Lei. Photo / Supplied
Jiang Lei. Photo / Supplied

• Second on the most-wanted list is Jiang Lei, believed to be living in Cockle Bay, Auckland. Lei reportedly fled to New Zealand 10 years ago and is suspected of embezzlement.

Chen Xingming was seen by residents in an Auckland suburb. Photo / Supplied
Chen Xingming was seen by residents in an Auckland suburb. Photo / Supplied

• Chen Xingming is fifth and was reportedly living in Half Moon Bay after he arrived in New Zealand in 2002. Xingming is suspected of misappropriating public funds.

Xuan Xiuying. Photo / Supplied
Xuan Xiuying. Photo / Supplied

• Tenth on the list is Xuan Xiuying who is suspected of misappropriating public funds, as well as concealing an overseas deposit. She has reportedly been living in Eastern Beach after fleeing China in 2002.

Yu Tainian. Photo / Supplied
Yu Tainian. Photo / Supplied

• Yu Tainan is 15th on the list and is accused of embezzlement and corruption. It is believed he has been in New Zealand since 2007 and lives near One Tree Hill.

- NZ Herald

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