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Canada deports Chinese fugitive, lawyer says

Lai Changxing: His case has cast a shadow over Canada-China relations for years

Lyle Stafford/Reuters/REUTERS

Canada deported China's most wanted man on Friday after dismissing his arguments that he could be tortured or executed if he was returned home.

A Canadian lawyer for alleged smuggler Lai Changxing said he had been put on a plane from Canada on Friday. Canada's border services authority declined to give any details.

China accuses Mr. Lai of running a multibillion-dollar smuggling operation in the southeastern city of Xiamen in the 1990s in one of China's biggest political scandals in decades.

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Federal Court Judge Michael Shore ruled on Thursday that Mr. Lai could be sent back to China, ending the accused smuggler's 11-year fight to stay in Canada. Beijing had promised Ottawa that Mr. Lai would not be tortured or face the death penalty.

David Matas, another of Mr. Lai's Canadian lawyers, said the judge had allowed the extradition despite admitting that the diplomatic assurances would not let Canadian officials attend closed hearings.

"The reasoning manifests exaggerated deference to both the Chinese and Canadian governments," Mr. Matas said in an e-mail.

In his ruling, Judge Shore said China's promises created a contractual obligation between two governments.

"The life of the applicant is in the Chinese government's hands. The outcome remains to be seen," he wrote.

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