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China ex-police chief gets 15 years' jail

AFP
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FALL FROM GRACEIn this video image, Wang Lijun speaks during his trial at the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court, southwest China's Sichuan province, on Monday.PHOTO:AP
FALL FROM GRACEIn this video image, Wang Lijun speaks during his trial at the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court, southwest China's Sichuan province, on Monday.PHOTO:AP

Chinese ex-police chief Wang Lijun, who exposed a scandal that shocked the ruling Communist Party, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Monday for defection and other crimes.

Wang, the right-hand man of top politician Bo Xilai, fled to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February, sparking a crisis that saw Bo sacked and his wife found guilty of murder ahead of a generational transfer of power.

His conviction and sentence are the latest move by the authorities to try to deal with the fall-out from the scandal ahead of the once-in-a-decade leadership transition at a Communist Party congress expected next month.

The former police chief of the sprawling metropolis of Chongqing, where Bo was the top Party official, Wang was tried for defection, bribery, abuse of power and bending the law for selfish ends, admitting all the charges.

Analysts told AFP that it remained unclear whether the authorities would put Bo - once a contender to join the elite Politburo Standing Committee and one of the country's best-known politicians - on criminal trial.

Bo is being investigated by the Party for "serious" violations of discipline and has not been seen for months.

In a statement, the Intermediate People's Court in the southwestern city of Chengdu found Wang guilty on each count, adding that the circumstances of the bending-the-law offence were "very serious".

But it said that he was shown leniency because he had reported the role of Bo's wife Gu Kailai in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

He "actively helped with the re-investigation", which "played an important role in the breaking of the case by police authorities", it said.

The court sentenced Wang to nine years for bribery, seven for bending the law, and two each for abuse of power and defection, but reduced the combined term to a total of 15 years, in accordance with Chinese law.

Wang said he would not appeal, the court added in a statement.AFP

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