VANCOUVER - A federal court in Ottawa ruled late Thursday to uphold Chinese fugitive Lai Changxing's deportation order, paving the way for his return to China after he stayed here for 12 years.
The verdict, made after more than three hours of court hearings, putting an end to all legal proceedings related to the deportation case.
According to the law, the deportation should be executed soon after the court made a decision. But Canadian border authorities said they can't disclose the date of Lai's repatriation for the moment, citing security and confidentiality reasons.
Lai, one of China's most wanted fugitives, is the prime suspect in a smuggling case in the Chinese city of Xiamen and has been sought by law enforcement for several years.
The fugitive arrived in Canada in 1999 on a tourist visa. Since then, he has fought his deportation in one of the country's longest extradition cases.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement shortly after the verdict that China welcomed the Canadian court's ruling to deport Lai.
"The Chinese government's position is very clear that Lai should be deported to China and put on trial," Ma said.