Beijing: A "drunk" Indian businessman has earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first foreign national to be held under China's new law authorising lower courts to prosecute foreigners. Abdul Ajees Mohamed Mustafa, 24, was detained after his car was involved in an accident in the country's international commodity hub Yiwu on November 8, state-run Global Times newspaper reported on Friday.
The people's procuratorate in Yiwu "delivered a lawsuit" to a local court charging Mustafa with dangerous driving, the report said, adding he was sent to the hospital and tested positive for drunk driving. This is the first case involving foreign nationals to be handled by a local procuratorate as the local courts are now authorised to prosecute foreigners under a new law, it said.
China recently amended its Criminal Procedure law, and the changes took effect on January 1. Before the amendment, only procuratorates above the city level could handle charges involving foreigners. Scores of Indian and foreign businessmen are based in Yiwu, regarded as the world's largest commodity market.
India topped the list of countries procuring various commodities including construction material, decoration articles, furniture and various other consumer items worth about several billion dollars. Two Indian businessmen, Shyam Sunder Agrawal and Deepak Raheja were charged with failure to pay a huge amount of money to the local suppliers last year.
They were first kidnapped by the local businessmen but were later released after Indian government intervention. The two say that they were the employees of a company run by a Yemanese national, who fled without paying the dues. They assert that they were being wrongly prosecuted.
The two, who are barred to leave China, have now shifted to Guangzhou where they said they are doing odd jobs. Judgement is due from the local court in their case.