Australian and Chinese police have joined forces to seize the assets of corrupt Chinese officials who are living in Australia, local media reported on Monday.
Called "Operation Fox Hunt", Australian Federal Police (AFP) together with their Chinese counterparts will take action in the coming weeks, according to Commander Bruce Hill, the manager of the AFP's operations in Asia.
Hill told Fairfax Media that Australia had agreed to assist China in the extradition and seizure of assets of corrupt officials who have fled to Australia with illicit funds running into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Hill said Australia had been identified by Beijing as one of the most popular outlets for corrupt Chinese money and a number of the suspects are naturalized Australian citizens and permanent residents who have laundered money.
"They don't all of a sudden leave overnight and take a bag of money with them. In some cases they're very carefully planned," Hill said.
Hill said some Chinese officials send their spouse and children overseas to shift the money.
"As time goes on, they start to put (their funds) into legitimate assets such as houses and property and shares and bank accounts and then the money becomes their wealth," Hill said.
"But it's never been their money to start with in the first place; it's the corrupt money flowing out of China."
The joint Australian-Chinese police operation follows the Chinese government's ongoing and wide-ranging anti-corruption drive.