• Chinese police escort a fugitive who was transported back to China from Canada.

Chinese police escort a fugitive who was transported back to China from Canada. (Photo : Reuters)

After eight years of negotiations, China has successfully extradited a criminal suspect from Latin America, an alleged crude soybean oil smuggler who has been hiding in Peru for 18 years, China's customs bureau announced on Sunday, July 17.

Citing a release from the website of the General Administration of Customs, the South China Morning Post reported that Huang Haiyong was finally sent back to the mainland to answer the charges against him.

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Huang was accused by government of smuggling and selling about 107,000 tons of crude soybean oil. He also evaded payment of more than 700 million yuan (HK$810 million) in taxes between 1996 and 1998.

According to the customs bureau, Huang, together with his two associates, fled to the United States in 1998. In 2001, at the request of the Chinese government, a global arrest warrant was issued by the Interpol for Huang.

China and Peru began negotiations for Huang's extradition after his capture in Peru in 2008. Huang however, requested against his repatriation, citing China's death penalty and the fear of alleged torture.

The customs bureau website and state media showed photographs of Huang as he was escorted by anti-smuggling authorities after being informed of his rights.

"This case again reflects the customs bureau's attitude to fugitives, to 'chase them until the end', to crackdown on any determination to smuggle. No matter where suspects flee to, they will be severely punished by law," the statement on the website said.

According to the report, more than 600 officials involved in graft cases have been repatriated to China, with the help of an international team, as part of the government's wider crackdown on graft in a campaign called "Operation Fox Hunt."

Although China has signed extradition treaties with several countries, some Western countries are hesitant to cooperate as human rights groups are wary of the way suspects are treated in the country, the report said.