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  • Writer's pictureBryan Zhang

What is the Basic Process and Steps for Reporting Criminal Fraud to the Chinese Police?

In international trade disputes, we often encounter clients who have been defrauded of their payment by suppliers and ask questions such as, "Can I report to the police and have the counter-party arrested? Can I get my money back after they are arrested?"

You may also have similar questions. Reporting to the police can indeed be considered as a means to resolve economic disputes. However, given the criminal justice system in China, the handling of such cases may differ from what you expect. Here is our introduction to reporting economic disputes to the Chinese authorities for your reference.

I. Brief Introduction of Procedures in Criminal Cases in China

1.1 Criminal Complaint: The victim should file a criminal complaint and submit evidence to the local public security bureau with jurisdiction.

1.2 Investigation: If the evidence is sufficient and the police suspect that a criminal offense may have been committed, and the suspect should be investigated for criminal responsibility, they will formally file a case and enter the first stage, that is, the investigation stage.

During this stage, law enforcement officers collect evidence and conduct interviews to determine whether there is enough evidence to justify prosecution.

1.3 Prosecution: After the police conclude their investigation, with enough evidence, the case will be sent to the prosecutor's office.

When review the case, the prosecutor must ascertain whether the facts of the crime are clear, whether the evidence is true and sufficient, whether it is not subject to criminal responsibility, and whether the investigation activities are legal.

1.4 Trial: Once the charges have been filed, the case will go to trial. Trials in China are conducted by a panel of judges, rather than a jury. The defendant has the right to engage the attorney and the opportunity to present evidence in their defense.

1.5 Sentencing: If the defendant is found guilty, they will be sentenced. The severity of the sentence will depend on the nature of the crime and the circumstances surrounding it.

1.6 Appeals: The defendant may appeal against the judgment of the first instance.

1.7 Execution: If the defendant's appeal is unsuccessful, the sentence will be carried out. In China, the most severe penalty for certain crimes is the death penalty.

II. Steps to File a Criminal Case in China

Step 1: Sign Engagement Letter and Prepare Authorization Documents

To initiate the process of reporting a criminal case in China, it is advisable to appoint an attorney to assist you.

You will need to prepare a power of attorney that confers authority to the attorney to act on your behalf in the case and handle related matters. The power of attorney should be notarized by a local notary office in your home country and authenticated by the Chinese Embassy or Consulate.

It is important to note that in some cases, the Chinese authorities may require the victim to be physically present to complete the report. Nonetheless, it is imperative to retain the services of a qualified lawyer to assist in analyzing the case, drafting legal documents, providing on-site support in filing the report and follow up the case with the police.

Step 2: Prepare the Criminal Complaint and Evidence

When reporting a criminal case in China, the main documents that need to be prepared are the criminal complaint and the evidence materials.

The criminal complaint is used to state the facts and introduce the case to the police, while the evidence is used to preliminarily prove the facts in the criminal complaint.

According to the laws, evidence documents submitted by non-Chinese citizens or companies registered outside of Chinese mainland to Chinese judicial authorities also need to be notarized by your country's notary public and authenticated by the Chinese Embassy, and the contents of the documents need to be translated into Chinese.

Step 3: Submit the Legal Documents and Evidence to the Police

Go to the local public security bureau where the supplier is located to report the case and submit relevant materials, as well as answer the questions raised by the police.

It should be noted that in criminal cases involving economic disputes, Chinese police often tend to regard them as civil disputes and may require the victim to resolve them through civil proceedings, such as filing a lawsuit in court.

Therefore, the possibility of successfully filing the case in one attempt is relatively low, and multiple visits to the public security bureau to communicate with the police are usually required.

Step 4: Follow up the Case and Apply for a Refund

After the police formally initiate the case and start the investigation, follow up the case and apply for a refund in appropriate manner.

According to the law, to apply for return of your money, the case shall at least meet the following conditions:

(1) After the investigation and review by the judicial authorities, the facts of the counter-party's crime are clear and the evidence is sufficient;

(2) The relations of ownership of case-related property and its fruits are determined;

(3) The jurisdiction over the case will not be modified;

(4) The interests of other victims or any interested party will not be prejudiced due to return the funds to you;

(5) The normal legal proceedings will not be affected.

(6) No other circumstances that are unsuitable to return the property.

(7) The judicial authorities determine that the appropriate time has reached to return the funds to you and that all the conditions for the return have been met.

It should be noted that there is no clear legal provision specifying at which stage a criminal case should be refunded, so theoretically, the victim can apply for a refund during all stages after it’s officially filed.

However, the judicial authorities may also refuse to directly refund the victim on the grounds that the above-mentioned conditions are not met. Therefore, it is impossible to give a definitive and unchanging answer as to how long a refund will take.

In conclusion, filing criminal cases including economic disputes to the police in China can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is important to understand the procedures involved and to seek the assistance of a qualified lawyer who can provide guidance and support throughout the process, taking the necessary steps to report the case and provide evidence may increase the chances of obtaining a refund or other form of compensation.

For more professional information and suggestions about how to get your money back from a defraud Chinese supplier by criminal reporting, please contact Landing Law Offices China to speak with one of our experienced Chinese lawyers.


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