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China paves way to charge cop who sparked Bo drama

by FP Staff  Jun 30, 2012 21:30 IST

#China   #Latin America  

BEIJING (Reuters) - A former top policeman whose dash to a U.S. consulate triggered China's biggest political scandal in two decades has resigned as a national lawmaker, state media said on Saturday, possibly paving the way for criminal charges against him.

Wang Lijun, former Chongqing police chief, briefly holed up in the Chengdu U.S. consulate in February, a step that ultimately led to the ousting of Chongqing's former leader Bo Xilai from the top ranks of Communist Party and sparked uncertainty ahead of a critical leadership handover.

The official Xinhua news agency said that Chongqing authorities had on June 26 accepted Wang's resignation as a deputy to the country's largely rubber stamp parliament.

The report provide no other details, but the act removes Wang's immunity from prosecution as a member of parliament.

Wang was afraid for his life after he alleged that Bo's wife was involved in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood, sources familiar with the police investigation have said.

Chongqing officials acknowledged in early March that Wang had been taken away by state security officials, and that the central government was spear heading an investigation. A May report in the South China Morning Post said he could face charges of treason.

Bo is under investigation for violating party discipline and was suspended from the politburo in April after the revelations regarding his wife's involvement in Heywood's death.

The removal of Bo, who had aspired for one of the top leadership seats at the five-yearly congress happening later this year, has opened the way for fresh jockeying among rival candidates and interrupts what is usually a carefully choreographed political process.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ed Lane)

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