Fugitive Real Estate Mogul Seeks Asylum in Canada

Fugitive Real Estate Mogul Seeks Asylum in Canada

Xinhua published a searing criticism of Canada yesterday for its alleged inaction on the case of Cheng Muyang, a Vancouver real estate magnate who is wanted by Interpol. On April 30 the South China Morning Post identified Michael Ching Mo Yeung as Cheng Muyang. The paper’s Ian Young and Li Jing report:

Photographs of businessman Michael Ching Mo Yeung, the president and CEO of Mo Yeung International Enterprise, match Interpol’s photo of fugitive Cheng Muyang, who is sought by the People’s Procuratorate of Qiaoxi district in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, for graft and concealing and transferring illegal gains.

Cheng, 45, is the son of Cheng Weigao – a powerful official who served as party chief of Hebei and later chairman of the local people’s congress. Cheng Weigao was investigated for corruption and subsequently expelled from the Communist Party in 2003. He died in disgrace in 2010.

[…] Cheng Muyang, a permanent Hong Kong resident, fled from the mainland to the city in 2000. He left Hong Kong for Canada in the same year, according to the CCDI. China only made a formal request to Interpol on August 27 last year to put Cheng on its wanted list. [Source]

The Xinhua commentary enumerates three “disgraces” Canada has incurred in Cheng’s case: letting Cheng stay, letting Cheng make financial contributions to “several political parties,” and letting Cheng become the new “Lai Changxing.” Lai was a businessman wanted for involvement in a smuggling ring, who fled to Canada in 1999 and was only extradited in 2011. He is now serving a life sentence in China. Xinhua continues:

What’s really breathtaking is that, despite nearly half a month of noise from the media, including from Xinhua’s international coverage, Canada has yet to let out so much as a squeak on the subject. You have to admire their “tolerance.” Little do they know that in the eyes of the Chinese masses, harboring Cheng Muyang is Canada’s shame.

[…] First there was Lai Changxing, now there’s Cheng Muyang. And Cheng may be just the tip of the iceberg. The media have reported that at least three Chinese fugitives are living in Canada: former Yunnan Tax Bureau official Li Wenge, former Xirui Group board chair Yang Xili from Liaoning, and former Sinopec Beijing Yanshan Company financial officer Cui Ying. You can’t help but applaud Canada for its perfection on this front! [Chinese]

Lai and Cheng’s cases have important distinctions, however. From an English-language Xinhua story, also published yesterday:

“We’ve got no extradition treaty with China,” immigration lawyer Rudolf Kischer told Xinhua in an interview. “The rule of law prevails in Canada, and the law says if you’re a permanent resident, you have the right to remain in Canada.”

[…] He said Ching’s case differs from another notorious case of Lai Changxing — a former businessman and billionaire entrepreneur who went into hiding in Vancouver in late 1990s, as Lai was not a permanent resident in Canada, and was simply hiding here as a visitor. [Source]

Cheng earned Canadian permanent residency in 1996, and applied for citizenship at least as early as 2006, but has been unsuccessful to date. A refugee claim from 2013 or 2014 was also rejected. Cheng has apparently hired David Matas, the human rights lawyer who also represented Lai.

Some Weibo users disagree with Xinhua’s interpretation of Canada’s stance:

Nagesheitadaye (@那个谁他大爷): Give him back to us quick. China is inseparable from its corrupt officials.

Huangdaoshangdengliming (@荒岛上等黎明): Shouldn’t it first be the shame of the People’s Republic of China? Having the nerve to blame others is more of a disgrace. [Chinese]

China issued a 100 most-wanted economic fugitive list last month, part of the Xi Jinping administration’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign. Over 60% of the people on the list are said to be in Canada and the United States.


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