Justice Minister Amy Adams says she has had no extradition requests from China despite new reports showing up to 20 of the country's most wanted fugitives had fled to New Zealand.
Ms Adams said this afternoon she was aware of media reports on a list of 100 fugitives which China has issued Interpol notices for.
But she had not been formally approached by Chinese authorities with regard to any of the named people.
The list showed the majority of China's most wanted criminals were in the USA or Canada, but between 11 and 20 were in New Zealand.
Ms Adams said: "It wouldn't be appropriate to comment in any of the individuals in the recently released list unless and until any formal extradition request in relation to them was received."
The minister was currently considering just one extradition request, for a Korean national.
Kyung Yup Kim is wanted in China for the death of a woman in Shanghai in 2009.
China's Interpol office released a list of the country's top 100 fugitives wanted on suspicion of corruption, the majority of whom were believed to have fled to the US and Canada. New Zealand was, however, the third most popular destination with between 11 to 20 believed to have fled here since 2001.
Those on the list ranged from bank managers to local government economic development officials, state-run company staffers and even the head of a driving school.
Bribery, embezzlement and fraud were the most common charges.
Yan Sun, who has several aliases including Bill Liu, is on the list of people who have come to New Zealand.
He is alleged to have stolen $129 million and concealed the fortune in New Zealand through complex money laundering transactions, according to court documents.
One transaction is alleged to have been a $2.3 million sum "filtered" through SkyCity to buy an apartment in the Metropolis tower with cash, while large shareholdings in Kim Dotcom's Mega were held by trusts and companies in other people's names.
His lawyer, Paul Wicks, QC, said previously his client "strongly denies any wrongdoing in any jurisdiction".
Liu made headlines in New Zealand just before the 2008 election when it emerged a Labour cabinet minister granted citizenship despite an Interpol warning about him.
Unproven allegations of "economic crime" in China led officials to believe he did not pass the good character test, but Shane Jones over-ruled the advice because of his concerns he might be killed if forced to return to his homeland.
Others believed to have come to New Zealand include China Power Finance Company's general manager, wanted for embezzlement, a bank staff member wanted for corruption and a member of the Henan Provincial Government in Hong Kong wanted for corruption.
In releasing the names, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said China's methods for chasing down corrupt officials were growing in both intensity and creativity.
"We will strengthen co-operation with the law enforcement agencies of relevant countries, fully avail ourselves of all available resources and turn corrupt elements into objects of hatred to be snatched back and made to face justice," the commission said.
The announcement follows China's launch of its latest transnational operation codenamed "Sky Net", seeking the return of suspects from abroad. An earlier campaign, "Fox Hunt", saw the return of almost 700 fugitives suspected of economic crimes, some in return for lighter punishments or other inducements.
The transnational operations are part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's overall war on corruption.
The Chinese President discussed the Fox Hunt campaign with Prime Minister John Key when he was in New Zealand last year as part of talks about "legal co-operation".
Justice Minister Amy Adams said at the time New Zealand had been helping China in the prosecution of corruption matters since our bilateral mutual assistance treaty came into effect in 2006. "We'll continue to assist the Chinese Government where necessary in accordance with the treaty and our laws," Ms Adams said.
- Herald Staff / AP