SUSPECTED 'Big Spender' gang member, Wu Man, who is awaiting trial in Guangzhou, has asked the mainland authorities for a deal in which he will plead guilty to escape execution. Sources have told the Sunday Morning Post that Wu - a Hong Kong resident and British National Overseas passport holder who sparked off a diplomatic row when he was snatched off a Bangkok street at gunpoint and flown to the mainland last year - will plead guilty to as yet unspecified charges for crimes committed on the mainland. The man the mainland claims was the 'backbone' of 'Big Spender' Cheung Tze-keung's kidnap and robbery gang had been expected to stand trial in Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court before the end of the month. His offer of a guilty plea - probably on charges which will include conspiracy in the mainland to commit crimes in Hong Kong - is likely to be accepted by the authorities because it backs their controversial contention that when he was taken from Bangkok to Guangzhou in June last year, Wu went voluntarily. A no-execution deal would also help cool a simmering diplomatic row between Britain and China over the circumstances of Wu's 'arrest'. The Post can also reveal that on Friday British officials lodged a request with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing for full details of the charges Wu will face and to have a representative in court when he appears. A spokesman for the British Consulate in Hong Kong said: 'We have raised the Wu Man case with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing and asked for the details of the charges against him. 'We understand that his trial is going to take place soon. Informally, we have asked if a representative from the Consulate-General in Guangzhou can attend his trial in an informal capacity.' Although the British request has been made informally, insiders described the move as significant in diplomatic terms. Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing wrote to British Prime Minister Tony Blair urging him to take steps over the matter in November last year and the issue was raised at the final meeting of the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group the following month. Wu - who has been held in Guangzhou's Kemulang detention centre since he was flown from Bangkok - was acquitted on appeal in Hong Kong of being responsible for the world's biggest cash-in-transit robbery, carried out at Kai Tak airport in 1991. 'Big Spender' was executed on the mainland with four accomplices on December 5, 1998. Wu's 'arrest' outside a Bangkok hotel on June 14 last year - reportedly by Thai police and mainland Public Security Bureau officers - led to a spat between London and Beijing. Britain complained that its embassy in the Thai capital had not been told of the 'arrest' as is normal procedure for anyone travelling on a British passport and because there were no formal extradition procedures. The alleged gangster was snared along with another Hong Kong resident, Cheung Hung-ming, who told British officials in the SAR that they were taken to a police station where he was released but not Wu. A week ago Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee confirmed she had been told by mainland officials that Wu would stand trial in the 'near future' but she said they had not detailed the charges he would face.