Former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun (王立军)
Opening yet another chapter in the political saga that has had China watchers gripped for months, former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun has been sentenced to 15 years in jail for the four charges of “bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking”. The all-authoritative Xinhua reports:
Despite knowing that Bogu Kailai was a major suspect in Heywood’s murder and having obtained important related evidence, Wang, then chief of Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau, bent the law by selecting Guo Weiguo, then deputy chief of the bureau and a close friend of both Wang and Bogu Kailai, to take charge of the case. Wang concealed from police the fact that Bogu Kailai had recounted her poisoning of Heywood to him, as well as he hid a recording of her recount. Wang accepted Guo’s verdict that Heywood had died from drinking too much, although facts ran contrary to Guo’s claim. Wang also offered Bogu Kailai a video recording that showed her at the crime scene on the night of Heywood’s death in an attempt to prevent her from being prosecuted.
From September 2008 to November 2009, Wang, as the executive deputy chief and then chief of Chongqing Municipality Public Security Bureau, accepted requests from Xu Ming, board chairman of the Dalian Shide Group Co., Ltd. and Yu Junshi, legal representative of Dalian Shiyuan Trade Co., Ltd. and instructed law enforcement departments to illegally release four suspects who were being detained. During that period, Wang received two apartments in Beijing worth 2.85 million yuan (449,583 U.S. dollars) bought by Xu and received a total of 200,000 yuan from Yu to cover the rent for Wang’s villa in Chongqing. Most of the property and money involved in the bribery has been reclaimed.
The sentence paves the way for the next act in this tightly-scripted political drama, and the money is now on Bo Xilai receiving a jail sentence too, according to NBC News:
The relatively mild sentence — following official confirmation that Wang shared incriminating clues and that Bo beat him after Wang confronted him over the murder allegations — added weight to predictions that the party will move to jail Bo too, said He Weifang, a law professor at Peking University who has closely followed the case. “The legal net around Bo Xilai has been slowly tightening,” said He. “He’ll certainly face a criminal trial.”