BEIJING, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- China for the first time extradited a former official suspected of duty crimes from the European Union Friday as the country hopes to net more fugitives amid its overseas anti-corruption efforts.
Yao Jinqi, a former deputy head of Xinchang County in east China's Zhejiang Province who fled abroad in December 2005, was extradited to China from Bulgaria.
Coordinated by an office in charge of fugitive repatriation and asset recovery under China's central anti-corruption coordination group, it was also the first successful extradition case since China's National Supervisory Commission (NSC) was established in March.
Yao is suspected of taking advantage of his posts to accept vast sums of money and property from others on multiple occasions and was listed in an Interpol Red Notice on Oct. 3, 2018, before being arrested by Bulgarian police two weeks later.
On Monday, a court in Sofia, Bulgaria, made a ruling on the case, agreeing to have Yao extradited to China.
"The extradition was a successful practice to convert the strengths of the country's supervisory system into efficiency in governance, and showcased the achievements China has made in international cooperation in anti-corruption efforts over the years," according to the office.
In an interview after he was escorted off the plane on Friday morning, Yao told Xinhua that during his 13 years overseas, he stayed in several places, including Central and South America, the Philippines and finally Bulgaria.
"There is no true freedom fleeing overseas, finally I still needed to come back to explain myself and accept the consequences," he said.
The coordination between Chinese and Bulgarian authorities, including the arrest of Yao and the ensuing court extradition order, was based on an extradition treaty signed between China and Bulgaria in 1996.
It took less than two months for the NSC to get Yao extradited after he was listed in the Interpol Red Notice.
More than 50 countries have signed extradition treaties with China.
China hopes more fugitives will return with a slew of measures it has taken this year, including the "Skynet 2018" operation launched in April and a public notice urging fugitives to turn themselves in before the end of 2018.
"Justice will never be undone," the office said in a statement, telling all fugitives to turn themselves in as soon as possible for leniency.