Police chief in Heywood scandal admits charges
A FORMER police chief at the centre of China’s biggest political scandal in decades admitted trying to defect to the United States, and did not contest charges of bribery and illegal surveillance at his trial yesterday, a court official said.
Wang Lijun, former police chief of Chongqing municipality, sought to conceal the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood by the wife of one of the nation’s most senior politicians, Bo Xilai, according to an official account of the trial.
But prosecutors acknowledged that Wang’s co-operation was central to cracking the murder case and exposing leads to major crimes committed by unnamed others, indicating he will likely get a lenient sentence when the verdict is announced in about ten days.
“The accused Wang Lijun voluntarily gave himself up after committing the crime of defection, and then gave a truthful account of the main crimes involved in his defection,” court spokesman Yang Yuquan said, referring to Wang’s dramatic flight to the US consulate in Chengdu in February.
Wang “exposed leads concerning major criminal offences by others, and played an important role in investigating and dealing with the cases concerned,” Mr Yang said. “According to law, his punishment may be reduced.”
The charges against Wang carry sentences ranging from a lengthy jail term to the death penalty. Foreign reporters were barred from attending the trial in Chengdu, and instead were briefed by a court official at a hotel.
Wang’s trial was closely watched for any evidence that Mr Bo had ordered Wang to cover up his wife’s involvement in the murder – a sign that Mr Bo himself could be next to face trial. So far, he has only been accused of breaching internal party discipline.
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