One of China’s most wanted men, Ren Biao, has returned to China amidst accusations of forgery and fraud and handed himself over to police. This concludes months of blame being tossed between the Unity government and opposition leaders over the handling of the situation.
Biao originally arrived in St. Kitts in July 2014 as an economic citizen. The honourable Dr. Timothy Harris alleges that Interpol gave notice to the government at the time, then led by Denzil Douglas, who is now leader of the opposition party. The allegations include an argument that the Interpol Office in Washington D.C. issued a red notice on May 26, 2014, requesting the arrest of Biao if he did travel to St. Kitts. On July 22, 2014, the Interpol office sent flight numbers and travel times of Biao’s intended landing in St. Kitts, according to Prime Minister Harris.
Douglas, who was prime minister when Biao received his passport, claims he knew nothing about the arrival of Biao. In an interview with WIC News in May 2017, the former commissioner of police in St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. CG Walwyn, said that while he was aware of the impending arrival of the fugitives, he never informed Douglas.
This statement by Harris was in response to allegations by the opposition party that government officials were being paid off by Biao in order to keep him in hiding, before asking for Harris to step down. Harris has denied the allegation, calling it “mischief” by the opposition party and neither side has produced any hard evidence to back up any claims.
Biao is one of the six most wanted fugitives on Interpol’s Most Wanted List who are also economic citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, all of whom received their passports before the Team Unity government came into office. Canada and the United States have spoken out against this practice and called it an abuse of the Citizenship by Investment program by St. Kitts and Nevis. Chinese embassies issued a statement earlier in 2017 accusing St Kitts and Nevis of becoming a haven for criminals.
Harris responded in a national address: “As a responsible member of the international community, St. Kitts and Nevis will never become a safe haven for criminals,” he said. “I have stated repeatedly as prime minister that our Citizen by Investment program is the platinum standard of the global industry. We cannot and will not allow it to be abused by those bent on criminality.”
Biao has returned to China, and while the facts and accusations surrounding the timeline of this particular case will continue to come out in the future, St. Kitts and Nevis must now take steps to ensure the handling of the Citizenship by Investment programming does not impede on criminal matters.