British Columbia

Chinese fugitive's deportation upheld

Chinese fugitive Lai Changxing has lost a federal court battle to have his deportation order stayed.
Lai Changxing, right, is escorted by a security guard from an Immigration and Refugee Board detention hearing in Vancouver on July 11. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Chinese fugitive Lai Changxing has lost a federal court battle to have his deportation order stayed.

In a written ruling released Thursday evening, Justice Michel Shore found Lai failed to satisfy the criteria for an order to stay the execution of a deportation order issued against him.

Shore ruled Lai is not at risk if returned to China, saying the Chinese government's assurances that Lai won't be executed or tortured and will get a fair trial with access to a lawyer if he's returned to face charges are sufficient.

Lai's lawyer told a Federal Court hearing in Vancouver Thursday afternoon that his client has become the Communist Party's poster boy for corruption.

David Matas had argued Lai would never get a fair trial in China because Communist officials are using him to deflect allegations of corruption against some of their own members.

"He's become the poster boy for the fight against corruption," Matas said via telephone from Berlin.

Federal government lawyer Jan Brongers argued that China had made a rare political commitment to Canada not to put Lai to death or torture him.

Going back on that promise would damage China's international reputation, Brongers told the judge, who was listening on the phone from Ottawa.

"To put it as plainly as possible, if they [renege] on the deal it will make it much more difficult for China to persuade other countries that it is safe to repatriate alleged fugitives back to China for trial," Brongers said.

Lai's release overturned

Lai was still in custody on Thursday, despite an order issued by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board for his release.

Lai was ordered released on Wednesday after an adjudicator with the board ruled he was a not a flight risk.

But lawyers for the Canadian Border Services Agency disagreed and took the release order to Federal Court on Wednesday afternoon where it was overturned by a judge.

Lai has been fighting his deportation to China for more than a decade after fleeing to Canada in 1999 to escape corruption charges.

With files from The Canadian Press