Bo Xilai

Super fit top cop Wang Lijun at Bo Xilai trial in wheelchair

One source says Wang Lijun suffered stroke before trial and could not sign his testimony

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2018, 11:45am

Wang Lijun, once known as China's toughest police officer, was in such frail health that he was rolled out in a wheelchair as a key witness at the trial of his former boss Bo Xilai.

Wang, 54, shook while giving his testimony and failed to sign for it at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court, sources witnessing the trial on Saturday told the South China Morning Post.

Wang, former police chief in Chongqing and now serving a 15-year sentence for bribery, abuse of power, defection and other crimes, suffered a stroke prior to the trial, one source said.

"He was unable to write with trembling fingers, so that his fingerprints were taken," another source said.

His appearance was in stark contrast to his former image. Dubbed "China's first policeman", he was reportedly capable of doing 50 to 60 push-ups at a time, and often boasted of his fearlessness.

Wang was known for his tough stance not only towards serious crime but even over petty irregularities, including minor mistakes committed by his underlings.

Wang fell out with his boss for reporting that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai , was a suspect in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Bo's violent response, a punch on Wang's ear, left him fearing for his safety, Wang testified on Saturday.

Bo dismissed Wang as police chief four days after the incident, Bo said on Saturday, according to transcripts released by the Jinan court.

"Wang had told me his long-time service in the police force and experience of cracking down on triads had put him under heavy pressure. He once said people seeking revenge tried to poison him. He said he was not in good physical and mental health," Bo said.

Fearing persecution by Bo, Wang fled to Chengdu , capital of neighbouring Sichuan province, and sought refuge in the US consulate.

The dramatic dash made headlines worldwide and his later investigation by state security officials triggered the downfall of Bo.

He has been held in Qincheng Prison on the outskirts of Beijing since September, which was built to hold officials above viceministerial level under the administration of the Ministry of Public Security.

Wang led a "comfortable life" in prison, living in a single room with television and newspapers, sources with connections to Wang's family members have told the Post.