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China ex-police chief gets 15 years jail

Beijing:  A Chinese court today sentenced Wang Lijun, the top police official whose defection to US Consulate has sparked off country’s biggest political scandal, to 15 years in prison.

Wang, 52, once a close aide and Deputy of disgraced leader of the ruling Communist Party Bo Xilai, was sentenced for bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking. The Chengdu City Intermediate People’s Court in southwest China’s Sichuan Province sentenced him to 15 years in prison, state run Xinhua news agency reported.

Wang, former vice mayor and police chief of Chongqing Municipality, hit the global headlines in February after sneaking into the US Consulate in Chengdu fearing reprisals from Bo, while investigating the involvement of his wife Gu Kailai in the murder of a British businessman, Neil Heywood.

Gu has already been given a suspended death sentence in the case. In his testimony Wang has implicated Bo alleging that the Party leader heading the Chongqing city has rebuked and slapped him over the probe into Gu’s case.

Wang’s entry into US mission and subsequent scandal about the involvement of his wife in the murder case has ruined his chances of contesting for some top posts of the ruling Communist Party, which is poised for leadership change this year after a 10 years.

According to an exhaustive testimony of Wang released by state run Xinhua earlier, Bo started intimidating him once he started investigating Gu’s role in the case. This is the first time in the entire episode of Heywood murder case, which rocked the party ahead of this year’s leadership change, Bo’s name obliquely figured.

Bo, 62, a charismatic leader was sacked from all post and currently facing disciplinary investigations. Now that Wang’s trial is over Bo is expected to go on trial. After slapping Wang, Bo has removed him as Police Chief and launched investigations against three other officials who worked with him on the case. Fearing for his life, Wang said he took the extraordinary step of defecting to the US mission in Chengdu where he stayed for over 33 hours, Wang said.

His testimony says that On Feb 6, under the pretext of discussing business, Wang US Consulate without permission on the pretext of engaging in foreign trade issues or diplomatic issues and later sought asylum, according to the charges filed against him.

Besides the complicity in the murder, Wang was charged with defection, corruption and misuse of power. While charging him with all these offences, prosecution however sought lenient sentence for him stating that it was due to his efforts that Gu’s involvement has come to the light and he cooperated with investigators in unravelling the case.

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