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Updated: July 1, 2012 02:45 IST

Key figure in Bo scandal quits

AP
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Wang Lijun
AP Wang Lijun

An ex-police chief whose shocking visit to a U.S. consulate led to the fall of a prominent Chinese politician has resigned from the national legislature, state media reported on Saturday, a sign that he might be a step closer to formal arrest and trial.

Delegates to the national legislature have special privileges, including immunity from arrest and trial unless there is special approval.

Wang Lijun, the former police chief of south China’s Chongqing metropolis, asked to resign from the National People’s Congress, and the standing committee of the Chongqing People’s Congress accepted his resignation on Tuesday, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Mr. Wang has been under investigation since he visited the U.S. Consulate in nearby Chengdu city in February. He is thought to have divulged information unfavourable to Bo Xilai, then Chongqing’s party chief.

It is unclear what charges Mr. Wang could face. He might be charged with treason if he divulged information on top-level Chinese officials to the Americans. Treason carries a maximum penalty of death, although Mr. Wang is expected to receive leniency for providing evidence against Mr. Bo and his wife. Mr. Bo was sacked from his job and is being investigated for unspecified violations. His wife is a suspect in the death of a British businessman, Neil Heywood. Mr. Wang, once a close ally of Mr. Bo, is believed to have had a falling out with his boss over the investigation into Heywood’s death.

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