US Blacklists Chinese Crime Boss, Others in Anti-Corruption Sanctions

By Reuters
December 9, 2020Politics
US Blacklists Chinese Crime Boss, Others in Anti-Corruption Sanctions
Flags of the United States and China are placed ahead of a meeting between U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and China's Agriculture Minister Han Changfu at the Ministry of Agriculture in Beijing, China, on June 30, 2017. (Jason Lee/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions on Wan Kuok Kai, the leader of China’s 14K Triad organized crime group and a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the U.S. Treasury said.

The sanctions also apply to three entities headed by Wan, who is also known as “Broken Tooth,” the agency said in a statement.

The United States also blacklisted one Liberian individual and one Kyrgyz individual under Executive Order 13818, which targets corruption and serious human rights abuse.

Under the sanctions, all property of the three individuals and companies that fall under U.S. jurisdiction is frozen.

OFAC regulations generally bar Americans from dealing with designated individuals. A senior U.S. official told reporters non-U.S. actors who deal with them also risk being blacklisted.

Treasury said it targeted Wan for his activities at the helm of the 14K Triad, saying the group engaged in drug trafficking, illegal gambling, racketeering, human trafficking, and other criminal activities.

The Treasury also designated three entities owned or controlled by Wan: Cambodia-based World Hongmen History and Culture Association; Hong Kong-based Dongmei Group; and the Palau China Hung-Mun Cultural Association, based in Palau.

It said the World Hongmen group had co-opted elites in Malaysia and Cambodia, continuing a “pattern of overseas Chinese actors trying to paper over illegal criminal activities by framing their actions in terms of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)” and other major initiatives of the CCP.

Treasury also blacklisted Raimbek Matraimov, a former deputy of the Kyrgyz Customs Service, alleging his involvement in a customs scheme in which at least $700 million was laundered from the Kyrgyz Republic.

It also designated Harry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman, now a prominent lawyer, Liberian senator, and head of the Liberian Senate Judiciary Committee, who was indicted but later acquitted for his role in a bribery scheme in Liberia.

 by Andrea Shalal and Arshad Mohammed

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