Chongqing mafia boss says jailed lawyer was framed

Chongqing criminal does about-turn on claims that jailed attorney Li Zhuang faked evidence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 November, 2012, 4:59am

An imprisoned Chongqing mafia boss who alleged that his lawyer fabricated evidence on his behalf - resulting in the lawyer being jailed for 18 months - has changed his testimony and said police in the municipality forced him to lie to frame him.

Li Zhuang, the former lawyer of convicted mafia boss Gong Gangmo, was summoned on Friday, along with his attorney, by the Supreme People's Procuratorate for a meeting that lasted more than an hour, The Beijing News reported.

The summons came after Li, who was released from jail in June last year, submitted a petition earlier this month seeking a review of his case and accusing officers of wrongdoing in their investigation. The newspaper said Li provided seven audio and video clips to support his claims.

In petition documents, Gong said: "They asked me to recite what they had prepared to frame Li Zhuang. It was also their idea [for me] to fake a headache, refuse to answer questions and speak in a dialect other than standard Chinese at the hearing."

Li's conviction came amid a controversial anti-triad campaign orchestrated by disgraced former Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai. Li's imprisonment in December 2009 sparked a national outcry, with many complaining it was a political prosecution. If Li is vindicated, it could lead to retrials in a series of other cases from Bo's anti-triad campaign.

Li was jailed and stripped of his law licence after Gong, who was suspected of organised crime activities, alleged that Li told him to lie about being tortured into a confession. Gong's elder brother, Gong Ganghua, and cousin Gong Yunfei made the same allegations against Li, and both also attended the meeting on Friday, according to Wang Shihua, Li's attorney.

During the meeting, both of Gong's relatives said their testimonies were made under duress, according to a blog post by Wang.

Li asked the Supreme People's Procuratorate to either investigate the case or hand it over to a local prosecutor's office other than Chongqing's as he believed that prosecutors there were also involved in coercing confessions, according to comments he later made to the Beijing Times.