Former chief of police charged in Bo scandal

Thu, Sep 6, 2012, 01:00

WANG LIJUN, former police chief in Chongqing and former protege of purged Communist leader Bo Xilai, has been charged with defection, power abuse and bribe taking in the latest stage in China’s biggest political scandal in decades.

The Bo Xilai scandal was largely sparked by Mr Wang’s flight to the US consulate in Chengdu and his attempt to seek asylum in exchange for information about Mr Bo’s wife Gu Kailai, who was convicted in August of the homicide of British businessman Neil Heywood.

She was given a suspended death sentence after a brief trial.

“Wang Lijun, Chongqing’s former vice mayor, has recently been charged with bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking by the People’s Procuratorate of Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province,” news agency Xinhua said in a statement.

Mr Wang is a colourful character, often carrying out his own postmortems and boasting of how he trained with the FBI and was kidnapped by the Italian Mafia.

His official title was deputy mayor and he became infamous in China after he implemented a crackdown on gangs in Chongqing at Mr Bo’s behest.

More than 1,500 people were arrested, including gangsters, prominent businessmen and 14 high-ranking officials.

The charges come as China is gearing up for a once-in-a-decade leadership transition that will see President Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao step down to be replaced by Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang.

The leadership transition is traditionally a fraught time in Chinese politics and the Communist Party is keen to get the Bo Xilai case cleared up in advance of the transition.

The leadership transfer will take place at the 18th Party Congress, which sources have said will take place from October 15th to 18th.