Macau
Macau, the only region in China where gambling is legal, has been asked to join in China's corruption manhunt.Getty

A leading Beijing official has called for Macau to join in the international manhunt for those fleeing China's anti-corruption crackdown.

Huang Shuxian, minister of supervision and a deputy chief of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said he hoped to "pragmatically cooperate with Macau's Commission Against Corruption to strengthen the tracking down of fugitives and proceeds". This followed a meeting in Beijing with the commission's director in the region.

Though it returned to Chinese control in 1999, the former Portuguese colony does not have an extradition treaty with the mainland.

The announcement comes days after China launched Operation Skynet to track down and bring to justice those who have fled abroad to escape President Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown.

Macau, famed for its casinos, is where scores of corrupt Chinese officials are believed to have fled.

It is the only region in China where gambling is legal, and its economy has suffered heavily in the wake on the government's vice crackdown, shrinking by 17.2% in the final quarter of last year.

Experts believe that the agreement with China would allow Macau authorities to claw back money from criminals by securing prosecutions and seizing illegal funds, reports the South China Morning Post.

Last month, it was reported that Wang Qishan, Beijing's chief anti-corruption official and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, was preparing to travel to Washington DC to seek the help of the US government in tracking down erstwhile officials guilty of corruption.