Shanghai police are using a new system to track suspects of financial crimes who have fled overseas, by using information sharing and joint investigations.
Without going into details of the system, which they described as the first of its kind in China, they said it can help identify suspects who have disguised their appearance and identity.
It is common for such fugitives to change their name, forge a death certificate, or even pretend to have been killed in earthquakes or tsunamis, the police said.
With the help of the system, a suspect who allegedly raised more than 160 million yuan ($22 million) from people in Shanghai illegally by promising ultrahigh interest of 12 to 36 percent for financial products, was detained recently by police in an African country.
Escorted by Shanghai police, the suspect, surnamed Dai, who had been in hiding for nine years, was returned to Shanghai on July 1. He has been arrested on suspicion of illegally taking public deposits.
More than 2 million yuan has been found, and the case is under further investigation.
Since the beginning of this year, Shanghai police have detained dozens of suspects for illegal fundraising and contract fraud who had fled to Asian, European and African countries and regions. Over 160 million yuan of victims' money has been recovered.
Between September 2013 and January 2016, Dai, without the approval of relevant government agencies, publicized false information about financial products through online and offline channels and sold them to the public.
He fled overseas with the funds, which were used for corporate operations, paying debts and personal consumption.
Huangpu district police started investigating him in May 2016.
In April 2019, police discovered Dai's last destination was in Africa, and requested Interpol to issue a high-level notice.
In June, with the coordination and support of the Ministry of Public Security, Shanghai police discussed plans to process and repatriate Dai in conjunction with the African country's police, justice and immigration departments.
After being detained overseas, Dai confessed that although he had been in hiding, he had always lived with anxiety and fear. He considered fleeing elsewhere through illegal immigration channels, and attempted to obtain a new identity, but his efforts failed.
Shanghai police said that over the past decade, nearly 1,000 financial crime suspects who fled overseas have been returned to the municipality. Among them, was one who had been hiding overseas for 27 years.
Nearly 10 billion yuan involved in the cases has been recovered.