China extradites fugitive former judge

The China Post news staff

Chang Ping-lung, a former judge at Taiwan High Court’s Hualien branch who fled to China three years ago after been sentenced to 11 years in prison for taking a bribe, was repatriated from Macau to Taiwan on Friday night under a cross-strait cooperation mechanism for the extradition of fugitives. Chang, who had been charged with taking a NT$300,000 bribe from a defendant in a criminal case, was found guilty and sentenced to 11 years in prison during a fifth retrial in 2007. However, Chang fled to China before serving the jail term. He was arrested by Chinese police in Sichuan Province last week. The Chinese authorities immediately informed their Taiwanese counterparts to make arrangements to return Chang to Taiwan to serve his jail term. The bilateral cooperation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is regarded as a result of a two-side agreement on mutual judicial affairs assistance signed in 2009.

A recent visit made by Wang Cho-chiun, director-general of Taiwan National Police Agency (NPA) under the Interior Ministry, to Chinese counterparts last month also seemed to help in facilitating cross-strait cooperation.

During Wang’s stay in China, both sides agreed to give high priority to the extradition from China of Taiwanese fugitives wanted for serious criminal cases, according to the NPA. Many suspects have fled Taiwan to hide in China to avoid apprehension by law enforcement agents in past decades. Of particular concern are those involved in violent or major economic crimes. It was reported that Taiwan has given a most wanted list to Chinese authorities.

The names on the list include former Kuomintang Miaoli County magistrate Ho Chi-hui, who was indicted on corruption charges but allegedly fled to China. Such bilateral cooperation goes both ways. A 30-year-old Chinese national surnamed Huang, who was charged with murder in Jiangsu Province, China, and had been hiding in Taiwan for eight years. Huang was repatriated from Taiwan to China via on Friday night.

Huang was accompanied by Jiangsu police officers during the flight to return him back to China for trial.

It is reported that this was the first case in which Taiwan has worked together with Jiangsu’s authorities to repatriate a criminal.