Wang Lijun to be tried in Chengdu on September 18th
Wang Lijun, 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.
Bo Xilai’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 Wang Lijun was “concrete and abundant”.
The indictment against him said he knew that Bo Xilai’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.
Bo Xilai, Wang Lijun’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.
Wang Lijun was seen as a loyal lieutenant of Bo Xilai, but in early February the Chongqing city government said 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, Wang Lijun made allegations about Neil Heywood’s death while at the consulate.
Shortly afterwards, Bo Xilai was sacked and his wife Gu Kailai was accused and later convicted of murdering Neil Heywood. Gu Kailai’s trial last month took only a day.
Wang Lijun, 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 organized crime and was once the subject of a TV drama called Iron-Blooded Police Spirits.