A deputy to Chongqing's People Congress has been detained by police after threatening to speak out about the city's former police chief, who is rumoured to have attempted to defect to the United States last month, the deputy's lawyer said yesterday.
Zhang Mingyu (pictured), who is also a property developer, was taken away by four police officers at his Beijing apartment on Wednesday afternoon, his lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, said.
Pu said his client had a recording of Chongqing's former police chief and deputy mayor, Wang Lijun, threatening him against making public corruption allegations against a local businessman with whom Wang was rumoured to have close ties. Pu said Zhang once posted on his microblog that he had information 'to explain' the Wang saga.
'Apparently, the police officers who took him away were from Chongqing, because Zhang had met them in the municipality,' Pu said. 'The authorities in Chongqing are afraid that Zhang will release the information.'
State-run media had reported that Zhang had been staying in Beijing for more than a year, since reporting the corruption allegations about the businessman to the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
Pu said he had not been able to contact Zhang since he was taken away, but another lawyer, Zhao Xiaoliang, said on his microblog that he had received a message from Zhang, saying he was back in Chongqing and had cancelled a press conference scheduled for yesterday.
Chongqing has been the focus of unwanted attention since the Wang scandal broke last month, when he visited the US consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan, reportedly seeking asylum. Much of the recent speculation has been directed at the municipality's party chief, Bo Xilai, whose political aspirations could be in jeopardy, as Wang was once considered his right-hand man.
Zhang gained notoriety last year when he publicly accused the Chongqing businessman Weng Zhenjie, who controls several brokerages and financial firms, of embezzling tens of millions of yuan in public funds and of being involved in mafia-like activities, but no official action was taken against Weng.
On Sunday, Zhang wrote on his microblog account that Shui Zhengkuan, a former member of the Communist Party's Chongqing Municipal Committee who was also considered a close friend of Weng, had committed suicide in a luxury villa area for high-ranking officials in the municipality.
Additional reporting by Choi Chi-yuk