China's anti-corruption agency has released the names and addresses of 22 alleged economic fugitives deemed "most wanted," but living free around the world — five of them listed as living in B.C.
The alleged criminals, wanted for a variety of corruption-related crimes from embezzlement to fraud, are described as living in the open in Canada, the U.S. and other countries, according to a statement from the the Central Committee for Discipline and Inspection (CCDI).
Ten are said to be in the U.S., four in New Zealand and one in Sydney, Australia, one in London and the last in the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
The list gives the names and addresses of the five men accused of corruption who are allegedly living in B.C.
Cheng Muyang is one of the names on the list.
Muyang — also known as Michael Ching or Mo Yeung Ching — is a wealthy real estate developer who has been fighting for refugee status in Canada.
In the spring of 2015, Ching lost his bid for refugee status. According to Immigration and Refugee Board documents, he is wanted by Chinese authorities for alleged embezzlement. The decision may be appealed.
Ching also made news a few years ago, when news stories questioned connections between him and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Liberal Party issued a statement in 2016 confirming Ching did donate to the party and attend fundraising events.
Ching has always denied accusations of embezzlement in China, claiming his confessions were made under torture.
Ching built Vancouver condos and donated thousands to the Liberal Party of Canada and Justin Trudeau's leadership campaign.
CCDI attack not a surprise
When somebody like Ching is wanted, Canadian immigration lawyers say there is often pressure from China because there is no extradition treaty between Canada and China.
In cases like this, China hopes alleged fugitives will be forced to turn themselves in, according to human rights experts.
But Vancouver immigration lawyer Zool Suleman does not expect much to come of this list.
"They don't need to publish these lists, so who are they trying to scare?" he said.
The police in Canada will not follow up, unless a person was already under investigation.
"Just because people are of interest to the Chinese, doesn't mean they are of interest to Canadians," said Suleman.
"You can embarrass somebody ... but that doesn't mean they are getting on a plane and coming back to China."
China's version of the secret police
Lorne Waldman has represented many refugee claimants from China.
He said this recent list posted April 27 was issued by what he describes as the Communist Party's own version of the secret police.
In 2012, the Chinese Communist Party began a campaign of targeting corruption, employing the CCDI.
The anti-graft agency is notorious, acting outside the law and using torture and coercion, according to Human Rights Watch and legal experts.
"There is more adverse publicity about the anti-corruption campaign being really just a political power struggle, using the criminal justice process in China as the mechanism for getting rid of political opponents," said Waldman.
Increasing evidence of violence at investigation centres has raised questions about the "credibility of the Chinese justice system," said Waldman.
"This list coming from the CCDI is even less credible because everyone knows the CCDI operates completely outside the rule of law in China," he said.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Global Affairs Canada all refused comment, deferring to the Canadian Border Services Agency, which responded in a written email:
"We can tell you that the CBSA works closely with domestic and international partners to keep our respective borders safe and secure."