“They went to the basement and Yan offered Lentino to take his pick — a Porsche, a Bentley or the Rolls-Royce.” That is how William Yan (闫永明 Yan Yongming), aka Bill Liu, a flashy multimillionaire residing in New Zealand despite Beijing’s long-standing accusation that he is an “economic fugitive,” liked to seal his business deals. But not all business has been that pleasant for Yan recently: In August last year, he agreed to pay US$30 million (NZ$43 million) to settle a money-laundering case in New Zealand and is now serving a five-month home detention sentence.
The New Zealand Herald reports on Yan’s decade-long story in New Zealand, ending with his conviction on money laundering and sentencing to home detention on May 10: Yan had previously been accused of falsifying his identity, a point that became especially salient after 2008, when the government controversially granted him New Zealand citizenship. In trials in 2012 for identity falsification and 2014 for money laundering, Yan was revealed to have obscured both his identity and the ownership of his assets through a web of third-party registrations and documents filled out on his behalf, making it difficult to tie any crimes back to Yan. When investigators did find more solid evidence of fraud in 2014, it sparked a drawn-out negotiation between New Zealand police, Yan, and the Chinese government.
The August 2016 settlement came with an agreement by Yan to return to China to face trial for fraud charges — Yan went in November 2016, came back in January 2017 with no publicized outcome, and stood trial this week, leading to his final sentencing. On May 10, Xinhua finally reported (in Chinese) an outcome of the trial: The majority of Yan’s $30 million, the equivalent of 130 million yuan ($18.8 million), will be remitted directly from his frozen assets in New Zealand to China.
U.S. patrols challenging Beijing in South China Sea will continue, says U.S. Navy commander / SCMP
U.S. Navy Commander Gary Ross: “We are continuing with regular FONOPs [freedom of navigation operation], as we have routinely done in the past and will continue to do in the future.” A week ago, it had been reported that FONOP requests were being denied by the Trump administration.
U.S. ‘strongly supports’ Taiwan’s participation in WHA: official / Focus Taiwan
Taiwan plans to send a delegation to the World Health Assembly on May 22-31, despite China’s objections.
China reaches out to new South Korean leader amid tensions with North Korea and the U.S. / SCMP
“President Xi Jinping congratulates South Korea’s new president and calls for mutual understanding and trust.”
China lawyer’s wife seeks U.S. asylum after brazen escape / AFP
The wife of human rights lawyer Xie Yang 谢阳, who is set to stand trial in China this week for subversion, is in Texas and seeking U.S. asylum.
- China’s missile tests in Bohai ‘aimed at THAAD in South Korea’ / SCMP
- Xi’s new Silk Road forum sets Chinese tone for globalization 2.0 / Bloomberg
China’s ‘outstanding’ former top diplomat Qian Qichen dies, aged 90 / SCMP
“Qian…was described by some as the principal architect of China’s emergence from diplomatic isolation in the wake of the bloody 1989 Tiananmen crackdown on the student movement.”
‘Emaciated, unrecognizable’: China releases human rights lawyer from custody / The Guardian
“Li Heping was held in secret for two years and deprived of all contact with his family but is now back home.” More information on Li Heping available here.
- Opinion: Beijing is weakening China’s rule of law. How far will it go? / ChinaFile
- China complains to U.S. over lawmakers visit to Dalai Lama / Reuters