[Stop-traffic] News/CHINA: `BIG SISTER PING' IN LAST-DITCH COURT BID.

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] News/CHINA: `BIG SISTER PING' IN LAST-DITCH COURT BID.
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 15:47:48 EDT


9-27-00 CHINA: `BIG SISTER PING' IN LAST-DITCH COURT BID.
By Mo Pui Yee.
The alleged mastermind of a global human-smuggling ring was back in court
yesterday for a last-ditch attempt to block her extradition to the United
States to stand trial.
Hong Kong resident Cheng Chui-ping, 51, known as "Big Sister Ping", claims
she has been unlawfully detained since her arrest in April. In a writ, she
named as defendants the United States and the superintendent of the Tai Lam
Centre for Women.
Cheng lost an extradition battle on August 22 when Magistrate Peter Law
ruled there were no grounds for her to oppose being sent back to the US.
Senior Counsel Gerard McCoy argued yesterday that the magistrate failed to
consider the US was barred from prosecuting Cheng by a time limit.
She faces eight charges in the US of conspiracy to smuggle illegal
immigrants into America, holding them hostage for ransom, money laundering
and running an illegal money-transfer business between July 1984 and April
1994.
US criminal proceedings have to be instituted within five years of the
alleged offence, but it is understood the charges were laid against Cheng
only this year. Mr McCoy argued the offences were not therefore able to be
prosecuted. He also said Cheng was not even a fugitive as she left the US
in 1994 by lawful means. "When she left the USA, she did not leave as a
fugitive. She left lawfully through immigration checkpoints with an
American passport," Mr McCoy said.
Senior government counsel Wayne Walsh said it was not the magistrate's job
to challenge US time limits.
The Court of First Instance hearing continues today before Mr Justice Frank
Stock.
SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST 27/09/2000
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