Bo Xilai

From traffic cop to triad-buster to party detention

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 February, 2012, 12:00am

Wang Lijun, the mainland's most famous triad buster and Chongqing's former police chief, followed his former boss, Bo Xilai, from Liaoning to help steer the anti-corruption campaign in Chongqing three years ago.

Wang, 52, enjoyed a high reputation in the state media in recent years, with many media reports praising him as the only high-profile 'anti-triad hero' who had survived.

He appeared to be a rising political star when he was appointed one of Chongqing's seven deputy mayors, in addition to his post as chief of the municipality's public security bureau. But last week, only eight months later, he was suddenly stripped of his police chief duties and reassigned to a portfolio covering education and the environment.

Wang, born into a Mongolian family in December, 1959, became a traffic policeman in a small county in Tieling, Liaoning, in 1984, two years after leaving the People's Liberation Army. He soon became a rising star in Tieling because of his heavy-handed crackdown on gangsters. In 1993, he was promoted to deputy director of the city's public security bureau, where he built up his image as an anti-triad hero.

As a 34-year-old deputy police chief, he personally led his colleagues in the destruction of Tieling's biggest triad and put many senior officials linked to triad activities in jail, including his ex-bosses.

Wang was a city-level police chief from 2001 to 2004 when Bo was Liaoning governor, first in Tieling and later in Jinzhou .

After Bo was sworn in as party chief of Chongqing, Wang was parachuted into Chongqing in July 2008 to steer Bo's anti- triad crackdown, which started in June 2009.

The crackdown led to the arrest of nearly 6,000 people, including billionaire businessmen, government advisers, crime bosses and senior law enforcement officers such as Wen Qiang, a former deputy police chief and head of the city's judicial bureau, who was later executed.

However, Wang was accused by some mainland media of abusing his powers and violating the principle of procedural justice in the course of the anti-triad crackdown. He even threatened to sue journalists and their employers if any 'fake' reports about Chongqing's anti-triad campaign were discovered.

Wang admitted that he had faced great pressure at work over the past two decades because of his iron-fisted anti-triad activities. Mainland media said triad leaders had put a price of 6 million yuan on his head.

'I was glad to still be alive,' Wang told China Central Television in an interview.

30b yuan

The estimating annual turnover in loan sharking business alone conducted by Chongqing's triads before the crackdown