BEIJING (Reuters) - Canadian authorities have repatriated a Chinese citizen wanted for fraud, China's Ministry of Public Security said, in a case that Chinese media hailed as a step toward the return of well-connected smuggler Lai Changxing.
Cui Zili, who posed as a salesman from China Life Insurance in 2002 to sign contracts worth 24.5 million yuan ($3.59 million), has been in Canada for seven years. He returned to China on Wednesday, the China Daily said on Saturday.
China has for years been trying to extradite Lai, who fled to Canada after a large and politically well-connected smuggling ring was cracked in Fujian province in the late 1990s. Lai's ex-wife and daughter, who had fled with him, last year returned to China where most of his family is imprisoned.
Lai has been fighting extradition in Canadian courts.
Cui's accomplice was repatriated from Canada in 2008, and is now serving life in prison, the ministry said. A second partner, who turned himself in 2004, was sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Bill Tarrant