China

Bo Xilai scandal: Date set for Wang Lijun trial

  • 14 September 2012
  • From the section China
File photo of Wang Lijun, former Chongqing police chief, on 16 October, 2011
Image caption Wang Lijun had a reputation for being tough on organised crime

The former police chief at the centre of China's biggest political scandal in years will be tried in Chengdu next Tuesday, a Chinese court official said.

Wang Lijun is charged with defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking.

He triggered events leading to the downfall of powerful politician Bo Xilai when he briefly fled to a US consulate in February.

Mr Bo's wife has since been given a suspended death sentence for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

"Wang Lijun's case will be heard on 18 September," an official at the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court who was only identified by his surname, He, told reporters.

An earlier state media report said that the evidence against Mr Wang was "concrete and abundant".

The indictment against him said he knew that Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was a murder suspect, but "consciously neglected his duty and bent the law for personal gain", Xinhua news agency reported.

One report said the trial, which comes with China expected to hold its key party leadership congress in coming weeks, would last one day.

'Iron-blooded police'

Mr Bo, Mr Wang's former boss in Chongqing, had been tipped for promotion to the top leadership ranks at the party congress before his downfall.

He has not been seen in public since the scandal erupted. He is said to be under investigation by the party's disciplinary officials.

Mr Wang was seen as a loyal lieutenant of Mr Bo, but in early February the Chongqing city government said Mr Wang had been shifted to another job.

Four days later, he fled to the US consulate in nearby Chengdu, where many believe he sought asylum. He spent the night there but was persuaded to leave a day later. He gave himself up to police and has been in detention since then.

According to the UK Foreign Office, Mr Wang made allegations about Mr Heywood's death while at the consulate.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Bo was sacked and his wife Gu was accused and later convicted of murdering Mr Heywood. Gu's trial last month took only a day.

Mr Wang, 52 began his career in law enforcement in the Inner Mongolia Region in 1984 and moved to the southwestern city of Chongqing in 2008.

He had a reputation for being tough on organised crime and was once the subject of a TV drama called Iron-Blooded Police Spirits.