BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, May 19th 2017– The latest twist in the Chinese fugitive scandal has drawn a reaction from a businessman, who said it cements the notion that St. Kitts and Nevis has become a haven for criminals and the police force appears to be politically-directed in the matter.
“It further gives a clear indication that the High Command of the Police Force is politically-directed in this matter,” said the businessman, who expressed dismay that a “law enforcement entity in the region had to tell our Police Force here in St. Kitts and Nevis to follow Interpol protocol and arrest Mr. Ren Biao and have him interviewed, only to respond in writing that Biao is not at the place he is known to be residing.”
“This also gives some legitimacy to the report that ‘authorities in St. Kitts and Nevis are protecting Mr Biao and collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for his protection,” said the businessman, who requested in his communication that his name not be disclosed for “fear of victimization.”
The businessman’s reaction was in response to CaribUpdate’s Friday morning report that top security officials in St. Kitts and Nevis have said they cannot locate the Chinese native wanted for fraud in Beijing, after regional counterparts had urged them to have the man interviewed.
CaribUpdate said it had seen a note from a top Kittitian official who is claiming that the man might have changed his location since he is apparently not at the address that they had guided Chinese police agents to in April,
The St. Kitts and Nevis security official could not say whether the man was still in St Kitts.
Last week St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris claimed that the passport of Ren Biao was among scores of others that were deactivated because it did not have the county of origin information.
But CaribUpdate pointed out that the deactivation of the passport by Prime Minister Harris had nothing to do with Ren Biao on the Interpol Wanted List.
China has openly accused the Team Unity Government of Prime Minister Harris of refusing a request to hand him over to Beijing citing the need for due process.
China has accused the Timothy Harris administration of continuing to stall on the issue.
CaribUpdate said it enquired of the Office of Prime Minister Harris in Basseterre to comment on the report that it intended to publish.
It said Dr. Harris promised an official statement on Thursday, but by the end of the work day it was still not ready.
There was no indication whether that promise was kept on Friday.
In a statement from its embassies around the world last week, the Peoples Republic of China said St. Kitts and Nevis is fast becoming a haven for criminals by harbouring Ren Biao and accused Prime Minister Harris of being un-cooperative on the issue. Biao, who is on the Interpol list, is wanted in China for defrauding a state-owned company of US$100 million.
China said it intercepted communication on April 16 in which the fugitive, who is in St. Kitts and is an economic citizen, called relatives in Beijing seeking an additional US$190,000 to help to continue pay for his protection by Kittitian authorities.
The Government first denied having informal or formal information on the matter, but regional media outlet, CaribUpdate said its own investigation revealed that the Ren Biao matter was raised via an unnamed Caribbean country with the Timothy Harris-led Administration in January this year.
“There was a direct request made on the issue of Ren Biao in January to (Miss Kay Bass), the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in St. Kitts and Nevis from the Permanent Secretary of another Caribbean country,” CaribUpdate said.
The regional media house said this was also followed by direct communications between the Head of the Financial Intelligence Unit of St. Kitts and Nevis, Ms. Jacqueline Berry and the same Caribbean country and its counterpart in Basseterre.
CaribUpdate further reported that at the meeting in Basseterre, officials of the Timothy Harris Government and law enforcement officers including members of the High Command were provided with details of the claims of financial impropriety.
The Head of the Financial Service Unit in St. Kitts and Nevis and the Head of the unnamed Caribbean country subsequently met in Basseterre in April this year on the Ren Biao issue.
CaribUpdate also said that Kittitian security officials met with Chinese security officials over the issue in early April this year after they were granted a visa waiver from Basseterre to enter St. Kitts and Nevis.
They were met on arrival at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport by St. Kitts security officials on April 14th and spent a week on the island.
Prime Minister Harris has admitted knowledge of the request to handover Biao, but the questions remain, who in his government has been offering protection to Ren and who is collecting the protection money?