Chinese Law Prof Blog

Editor: Donald C. Clarke
George Washington University Law School

Saturday, June 23, 2012

For business people: How not to get kidnapped in China

Just in case there are any people doing business in China who read this blog but do not read Dan Harris's China Law Blog (which I highly recommend), be sure to check out the latest post on how not to become a hostage for your company's debt (or your own). Adds Dan at the end: "And just to scare you a little bit more, I have a friend who works for a high end China risk consultancy and he tells me that they started seeing a massive increase in these cases this year."

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This problem is endemic in other developing countries where the courts are ineffective agent for dispute resolution. I have friends in the oil and gas business being unlawfully detained in Mexico and Nigeria.

Posted by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung | Jul 26, 2012 4:07:40 PM

China has a tendency to create a criminal offense out of a monetary or civil dispute. Particularly when there is a state-owned or government-owned entity involved against a foreigner or foreign party. Sometimes even a foreign attorney who represents such a foreign party can be incriminated without knowing the hazard. I have come across an American attorney who tried to serve a document on an executive of a state-owned enterprise being arrested for practicing law in china without registration. What a trumped up charge.

Posted by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung | Aug 9, 2012 3:09:21 PM

when I was a lawyer in Hong Kong, I came across a case involving a H K businessman being arrested and accused of committing a commercial crime in China. While he appeared in court, his son also showed up to see him. The judge ordered the arrest of the son and release of the father so that the father can go back to H K to raise money to bail out the son. Can you believe that such a fiasco can take place in a Chinese court?

Posted by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung | Apr 21, 2013 11:15:47 PM

There are two approaches which have varying degree of success. Assuming the prisoner is a foreign national (which excluses Hong Kong Chinese and Taiwanese who enter China not using a foreign passport), some suggest using a low profile approach hoping that the matter can be resolved without much publicity. It is like paying ransom to have a kidnapped person released. If it does not work, using a high profile approach especially the western media. Very often, when the US President visits China or a Chinese premier visits USA, China will release one or two on medical grounds. As about the specifics, consult your lawyer. Make sure he or she knows what is being done with maximum benefit.

Posted by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung | Jun 29, 2013 6:29:27 PM

Even the well-known British company Glaxo had his English executive barred from leaving the country during investigation. You can imagine if you work for a smaller company in China.

Posted by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung | Jul 27, 2013 9:45:26 PM

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