Bo Xilai

Bo Xilai's police chief Wang Lijun likely to be shown mercy by court

Report says Wang Lijun exposed vital clues in re-investigation of British businessman's murder by Bo's wife Gu Kailai as his two-day trial ends

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 2:03pm

Ex-Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun , whose trial on charges including defection and bribery ended yesterday, could receive relatively lenient punishment, the court was told.

The name of his former boss, disgraced Chongqing Communist Party chief Bo Xilai , was not mentioned in Xinhua's report about the two-day trial, with analysts saying that indicated that Wang's case would have little impact on Bo's fate.

Chengdu Intermediate People's Court said after two half-day sessions yesterday that it would deliver its verdict later.

Wang, whose flight to Chengdu, the capital of neighbouring Sichuan , in February triggered China's worst political crisis in two decades, was charged with bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and accepting bribes.

Two charges against Wang, including defection and abuse of power, were heard in a four-hour closed-door session on Monday.

A brief report by Xinhua said Wang attempted to defect to the US, while the abuse-of-power charge related to the forging of official approval documents and the "unauthorised use of technical surveillance measures".

Yesterday, Wang was accused of taking 3 million yuan (HK$3.6 million) in bribes and trying to cover up the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood by Bo's wife, Gu Kailai .

Although the session was said to be open to the public, access to the court was tightly controlled and foreign media were kept outside. The court statement said Wang surrendered after leaving the US consulate following his attempted defection, and "made an important contribution" to the re-investigation of Gu's case.

The report said he had produced vital clues exposing serious offences by others. Xinhua quoted the prosecution as saying those mitigating factors could result in lighter punishment.

Zhang Yunzhang , a former director of Minzu University's law school, said Wang was likely to receive a life sentence.

He said that accepting so much in bribes could result in the death penalty, but because Wang had made important contributions to other cases, life imprisonment was more likely.

Mo Shaoping , a Beijing-based lawyer, said he expected Wang to be sentenced to life imprisonment or 20 years.

He added: "Three million yuan in bribes is not a huge amount in today's China."

The trial could bring action against Bo, once a contender for the Politburo Standing Committee, a step closer. He has not been seen in public since the announcement in March that he was being investigated for violations of party discipline.

Professor Zhang Ming , a political scientist at Renmin University in Beijing, said: "The [court] statement ignored Wang's wrongdoings when he was sweeping away organised crime in Chongqing together with Bo. This shows Bo is safe from the whole scandal."

Last month, a court handed Gu a suspended death sentence for the murder of Heywood, 41.

During her trial, there was also no mention of whether Bo was linked to her case. Zhang Lifan , a political affairs analyst, said: "It means either Bo has fully confessed to the party authorities or that someone is protecting him from criminal charges."