Police chief fired for allegedly covering up son's assault on cop

Drink-driving son assaults police and father allegedly tries to cover it up; incident brought to light after video posted online

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 December, 2012, 2:14am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 December, 2012, 7:37am

The police chief of Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, has been dismissed and is under investigation for allegedly covering up his son's drink-driving and assault of a traffic police officer, Xinhua reported yesterday.

Li Yali has also been removed as party secretary of Taiyuan's Public Security Bureau and deputy head of the provincial bureau after internet users spread reports about his son, Li Zhengyuan.

The allegations date back to October, but Taiyuan's Public Security Bureau only decided to put the father under investigation on Thursday after facing mounting criticism from mainland internet users. The Communist Party's new leadership has vowed to crack down on corruption.

Xinhua reported yesterday that traffic police officer Xia Kun intercepted Li Zhengyuan, who was suspected of violating traffic rules, on October 13.

Li Zhengyuan told Xia that he had forgotten to carry his driving licence and was rushing to a train station. He also showed Xia his public security bureau entry card.

Xia, however, demanded that Li Zhengyuan leave his vehicle licence behind before going to the station.

Li Zhengyuan then lost his temper and started beating Xia, grabbing his neck. When Xia asked "You are police. Why beat up a police officer?" Li Zhengyuan yelled "Yes, I am beating you up. Why can't I do that?"

Three more police officers rushed to the scene to control Li Zhengyuan, who was given a blood-alcohol test that revealed he had been drink-driving.

However, he was escorted by police officers instead of being arrested. Xia said he was not aware that the suspect was the son of the city's police chief and filed a report about the incident.

He said he came under pressure  to omit details about the son in his report, and at one point was offered a bribe. His mother received a threatening mobile phone message.

The scandal went unnoticed until a video showing the assault was uploaded on major mainland internet portals on October 28, triggering criticism from internet users who likened it to a case that made national headlines in 2010. In that incident, in Baoding, Hebei province, the son of a police chief shouted, "Sue me if you dare, my father is Li Gang", after knocking down two pedestrians, killing one of them, while drink-driving.

Meanwhile, Shenzhen People's Congress member Chen Xingguang has become the target of corruption allegations following online reports that he lost 70 million yuan (HK$86.3 million) gambling in Macau, forcing the sale of a hotel owned by a district government.

A statement issued by the district committee said it was sold to a businessman for 56 million yuan in 2002.