Beijing city's spy chief was removed from his post yesterday amid a widening corruption probe surrounding retired security tsar Zhou Yongkang.
Liang Ke was dismissed by the standing committee of the capital's municipal legislature, which then appointed Beijing's deputy police chief, Li Dong, to succeed him as director of the city's State Security Bureau.
The local media reports gave no other details and offered no reason for the reshuffle.
Liang's replacement comes at a sensitive time. In a week, the nation's power elite will convene in Beijing for annual meetings of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
A source close to Beijing's security and law enforcement apparatus said Liang was detained by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) last month. The source also said Liang was a key ally of disgraced deputy national police chief Li Dongsheng , and that his links to Zhou and Zhou's associates may have contributed to his fall.
Rumours of Liang's arrest surfaced late last month on some online political gossip outlets.
The Legal Evening News reported Liang, 48, a Jilin native, had worked his way up in the capital's state security bureau, with spells as head of its district bureau in Haidian and as a deputy secretary of Beijing's politics and law committee.
Li Dongsheng is a close aide of Zhou and was detained by CCDI investigators in late December. Besides Li, several of Zhou's former top aides from Sichuan and the state oil sector - Zhou's two other power bases - were also detained by the CCDI last year. On Tuesday, the CCDI placed Ji Wenlin , a deputy Hainan governor and Zhou's right-hand man, under investigation for "serious disciplinary violations".
An official probe of Zhou has yet to be announced, though many believe the extensive list of his protégés who have been detained foreshadow his demise.