Weeks after Wang Lijun was sentenced to prison, more details have begun to surface about the flamboyant style of the former anti-triad hero who played a central role in the scandal that felled the ex-Politburo member Bo Xilai.
Colleagues of the former Chongqing police chief have described Wang, once Bo's most trusted aide and ally, as an ambitious maverick who showed more concern about his public appearance than upsetting subordinates or superiors.
He did not hesitate to mete out punishment, police and government sources in Chongqing said. Many officers, including some who once worked closely with Wang, were subjected to punishment, ranging from receiving demerits or demotion to loss of their jobs or even detention over minor mistakes.
"Wang once said that he had nothing to fear, even if what he did may have been against the direct orders from the Ministry of Public Security," one source recalled. Colleagues also described him as wild, self-centred and highly particular about appearances. Last year he ordered staff in the municipal police bureau to attend a concert by the folk singer Song Zuying and bought them matching 5,500 yuan (HK$6,800) suits for the occasion.
"It is an open secret within the Chongqing police that only Wang was allowed to wear suits of a specific light-grey colour, which he believed was more elegant than other colours," a police officer said.
Wang was sentenced to 15 years in prison in September for defection, bribery, abuse of power and bending the law. It remains unclear when Bo may stand trial and if he faces a possible death penalty for corruption and other alleged crimes.
Sources said more than 2,000 Chongqing police officers who were sidelined by Wang have appealed for their cases to be re-examined, with about half reinstated or already under review.
Meanwhile, police and government sources in the southwestern municipality confirmed that the newly appointed party chief, Sun Zhengcai , would scrap most of the policies adopted under Wang by the end of the year, including some once seen as his biggest achievements.
One of the best known policies was a costly project Wang launched in 2010 to deploy thousands of police and police vehicles on the street to ensure rapid police response to any public security threat 24 hours a day.
Although part of Bo's controversial crusade against organised crime, which was often attacked as the pair's attempt to promote their political agenda at the expense of the rule of law, the project itself has been widely hailed by local residents.
"Wang boasted of many tough measures against violent and petty crimes, and now it looks certain that his influence has been gradually eliminated," said one police source who used to work with Wang.