Heywood's widow told not to talk to media

Sat, Apr 14, 2012, 01:00

THE WIFE of Neil Heywood, the British man believed to have been murdered in a case that has caused China’s biggest political scandal in decades, has been ordered by authorities not to talk to foreign media.

It is the latest strange development in an increasingly torrid tale of murder, intrigue and power.

Wang Lu, who lives with her two children on the outskirts of Beijing, has remained tight-lipped on the case. Sources told Reuters she had been ordered not to comment on the case.

Chinese politician Bo Xilai, who was working towards a seat on the all-powerful standing committee of the politburo, has been purged by the Communist Party. His downfall is linked to accusations against his wife, Gu Kailai, that she was involved in the murder of Mr Heywood, a family friend and business associate of the Bo family.

Police say she is “highly suspected” of involvement and that the dispute between her and Mr Heywood centred on unspecified “economic interests”.

When Ms Wang and her children attended a memorial service in London for Mr Heywood, they were reportedly escorted by Chinese guards and kept away from those attending the ceremony.

Mr Heywood was found dead in a hotel room in Chongqing last November. Authorities said he died of alcohol poisoning although he was reportedly teetotal, or at most a moderate drinker.

His family were told he died of a heart attack. He was quickly cremated but some of his friends asked the British embassy to check the case, and the Chinese authorities reopened the investigation.