Hong Kong’s first refusal of a US extradition bid

Yesterday, a US Department of State Annual report revealed that in October 2017, the leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, refused to extradite a detainee to the US. The detainee was placed in custody, in mainland China, and extradition was refused on the basis that Beijing was pursuing the detainee in relation to a separate criminal matter. This is the first time Hong Kong has refused to extradite a detainee to the US since the UK transferred sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997. So far, the details of the Chinese criminal matter and the identity of the detainee remain unknown.

However, the South China Morning Post has uncovered evidence of a broken extradition negotiation in the New York bribery case of Patrick Ho Chi-ping, a former Hong Kong Home Affairs Minister. In that case Iat Hong, a hacker, was arrested in Hong Kong in December 2016. Hong was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for hacking into unnamed New York law firms as part of an organised hacking group that made more than 4 million US dollars. The US tried to extradite Hong, but the extradition negotiation broke down in October 2017.

In 1997 Hong Kong and the US created a bilateral agreement which has resulted in Hong Kong being able to extradite detainees to the US, however the US and China do not currently share an extradition treaty. In the case of Patrick Ho Chi-ping, the US prosecutors explained that the agreement between Hong Kong and the US contains an exception that “relates to the defence, foreign affairs, or essential public interest or policy of [China]”.

 

Venezuela to request the extradition of two alleged fraudsters, convicted in Texas, USA.

Roberto Rincon and Abraham Shiera have pleaded guilty in Texas to charges relating to the bribery of officials in a Venezuelan state oil company. Both men were involved in a scheme that embezzled $1.16bn from Venezuela’s state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA). Venezuela’s chief prosecutor announced today that the extradition of Rincon and Shiera will be requested imminently as part of a wider move to secure twelve other people who are involved in corruption in Venezuela.

Suspected Russian fraudster wanted by the US arrested in Thailand

Sergey Medvedev, a Russian man accused by the United States of founding online criminal network Infraud Organisation, has been arrested in Thailand and is facing extradition to the US. Infraud Organisation is said to have facilitated identity theft and fraud, allowing its members to trade financial information such as stolen credit card details. The US has stated that Infraud cost victims £380m between its founding in October 2010 and being shut down this month.

An official from Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division, Nuthapon Rattanamongkolsak, said that he expected Mr Medvedev, who has “no real job” in Thailand, to be extradited within a month.