Fugitive turns himself in after a year

Updated: 2013-05-14 02:26

By Zhang Yan (China Daily)

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One of China's most wanted fugitives, suspected of coercing and organizing deaf and dumb people into a life of crime, turned himself in to police on Saturday.

After one year on the run, Wang Zhide was flown from Osaka in Japan to Dalian, Liaoning province, the Ministry of Public Security said on Monday.

Wang played a leading role in a gang of 220 members that operated in 11 provincial regions, including Liaoning, Jiangsu and Anhui provinces, from 2007 to 2012. The gang members abducted, cheated and coerced deaf and dumb people into a life of stealing.

The gang was busted in 2012.

Wang said he had "struggled every day and hadn't had a single night's sleep" during his year on the run, which had taken him to Africa, Singapore, Malaysia, Argentina and finally Japan, according to a statement by the ministry.

He decided to turn himself in late last month after the police asked his relatives to persuade him many times to do so.

"We will suggest the court hands down a more lenient sentence, considering that he turned himself in," said Liao Jinrong, director of the international cooperation bureau under the ministry, who urged any other fugitives on the run overseas to turn themselves in and face justice.

Wang has been charged with abducting disabled people, theft, and providing shelter to other suspects.

"They used the Internet and text messages to get in contact with disabled people, and then abducted them with the promise of jobs and friendship, or just to offer them some fun," said Wang Zhili, a police officer from the anti-human trafficking department of the Dalian public security bureau, which has led the investigation.

"The traffickers lured those disabled people to Dalian, Shenyang and Nanjing, then threatened, tortured, or illegal detained them to force them into stealing," he said.

In April 2012, Dalian police arrested the seven main suspects and other gang members. The police seized illegal assets worth up to 2.6 million yuan ($420,000).

On April 25, Wang's wife, surnamed Yang, and his brother-in-law went to the Dalian public security bureau, and said Wang Zhide was willing to come back to face trial.

On April 24, Wang Zhide phoned the Dalian police from Japan and told them of his decision to surrender.