Witness flies to China in Heywood murder case
A FRENCHMAN held in Cambodia because of alleged links to China’s biggest political scandal in two decades has flown to China, where he is wanted as a witness in the case.
Patrick Henri Devillers, 52, was detained last month in Cambodia, where he had been living for several years.
He was held at the behest of Beijing because of his suspected business links to the wife of deposed Chinese politician Bo Xilai, Cambodian authorities have said.
Information minister Khieu Kanharith told reporters that Mr Devillers, an architect, had flown from Cambodia to China late on Tuesday and had left of his own free will, without an escort from the French embassy.
“He voluntarily went as a witness,” he said. China had promised Mr Devillers would be needed for up to 60 days before being allowed to return, he added.
Mr Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, has been named by China as a suspect in the murder last November of British businessman Neil Heywood. Both Mr Heywood and Mr Devillers were known to be close to her.
France’s foreign ministry said Mr Devillers had assured staff at its embassy in Cambodia he was going to China voluntarily.
“Mr Devillers told our ambassador he had received certain guarantees from Chinese authorities,” a spokesman said.
Mr Devillers has lived in Cambodia for at least five years, according to friends. He entered Mr Bo’s inner circle while living in Dalian in the 1990s, when Mr Bo, who was mayor of the city at the time, helped him chase up an unpaid debt.
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