19 May 2012. Lai Changxing became a billionaire by carrying out smuggling activities. He bribed top officials to keep himself out of jail. Former Prime Minister Zhu Rongji once remarked that Lai’s crimes were so extreme that executing him three times would not be adequate punishment for him.
Lai, 53, escaped death sentence by fleeing to Canada. He lived there well with his wife and three children for more than a decade. But his brother and his accountant met with unexplained death in prison. Even top Communist Party officials feared that they may be the next to be caught. He paid more than $5 billion in bribes to some 64 government officials and smuggled $4.3 billion worth of luxury cars, cigarettes and petrol.
Canadian government’s policy is not to extradite a fugitive if he would face a certain death. Canada agreed to extradite him after obtaining guarantee from the Chinese government that Lai would not be tortured or sentenced to death.
Ottawa court rejected his application for refugee status and the judge called him a “common criminal”.
On arrival in China he was convicted of smuggling and offering bribes and sentenced to life in prison.
The Canadian government is pleased with the sentence meted out to him. Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokeswoman Patricia Low-Bedard says China lived up to its assurance that Lai Changxing would not receive the death penalty upon conviction.
Watch this video: Chinese Fugitive Lai Changxing Faces Trial in Xiamen