Chinese Court Indicts Alleged Smuggling Kingpin

Published February 14, 2012 1:27AM (EST)

BEIJING (AP) — A court in eastern China has indicted the man long considered China's No. 1 fugitive on charges of bribery and running a $10 billion smuggling ring.

Lai Changxing fought extradition from Canada for 12 years but was deported in July after Beijing assured Ottawa that he wouldn't face the death penalty.

The state-run Global Times newspaper reported Tuesday that a local court in the coastal city of Xiamen had accepted an indictment from prosecutors and begun hearing the case against Lai.

The move brings authorities a step closer to a conclusion in one of China's most lurid, long-running corruption cases.

Lai is accused of masterminding a network that smuggled everything from cigarettes to cars and oil and bribed dozens of government workers between 1996 and 1999.

By Salon Staff

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