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The Foreign Ministry of China has asked the Australian government for aid in stopping wealthy Chinese fugitives from buying homes and owning businesses in Australia.

Chinese authorities are aware that Australia's premium investor visa might be used by corrupt Chinese officials to obtain permanent residency in Australia. The Australian premium investor visa targets wealthy foreigners by offering permanent residency if applicants can invest AU$15 million in the country.

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Hong Lei, Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that China has always encouraged people-to-people exchanges with Australia, and this includes turning in people who are wanted by either of the governments.

Hong pointed out that China's serious campaign to fight corruption involves chasing fugitives and tracing illegaly acquired money from the country.

"We don't want these corrupt officials or fugitives to find safe havens overseas," Hong said.

According to previous reports, one of the reasons why wealthy Chinese investors buy real-estate properties in Australia is that such investment would give them easy access to future permanent residency.

Foreign investing would also help them diversify their resources and expand their investments outside China.

Australian brokers said that Chinese investors usually buy properties in Australian suburbs that are near to Chinese communities and prestigious universities.

Some of the areas identified are Rhodes, Sydney; Box Hill and Clayton, Melbourne; Sunnybank and Macgregor, Brisbane; Ashford and Central Business District, Adelaide; and Crawley and Wilson, Perth.

One problem with tracking down fugitives in these areas is that they are hardly policed by the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). Further, tracking investments bought by fugitives through a friend or relative in these areas would give the board some dilemma.

To address the loop hole, Australian authorities are creating new penalties for breaches on foreign real-estate investments.