Thursday, January 14, 2010

Corrupt Chinese Officials Abscond With $50 Billion

Here is a nice one from AFP (if only to keep peace in the family)  --
"As many as 4,000 officials have disappeared, using criminal gangs, mainly in the United States and Australia, to launder their ill-gotten gains, buy real estate and set up false identities, the Global Times said. 'Thousands of officials have fled China over the past 30 years with some 50 billion dollars in public funds,' state media said Monday, as the government scrambles to stem the tide of corruption."
The backstory is even more interesting. In Southern California's posh San Gabriel Valley (the Farthest Eastern hutong), PRC intelligence officers have placed an underground "bounty" on the heads of former officials, many of whom live in the valley's upper class residential communities such as San Marino, Pasadena, and Arcadia. If you can locate one of the former officials -- usually living under assumed names in heavily secured compounds costing millions of dollars -- you are paid a USD $25,000 "finder's fee." The only trouble is, pointing the finger could theoretically lead to a kidnapping, and U.S. conspiracy laws are notoriously broad in what constitutes "agreement and one overt act."

What makes this story fair game for a Buddhist blog is the hook that the intelligence officers regularly contact the area's Buddhist priests -- of which there are a considerable number -- and ask for their cooperation, offering substantial "donations" should said cooperation be forthcoming. Some identified officers have even been observed parked outside of the larger Buddhist temples proximate to the lunar New Year, operating video cameras.

The officers are also known to target "parachute kids," or the region's multimillionaire teenagers, who live alone (usually with servants), providing the anchor for their parents to skip China and resettle in the United States. This was discovered when police encountered Chinese diplomatic personnel in a high school parking lot, copying down license numbers of the more expensive automobiles.

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