Wang Li­jun tes­ti­fies against Bo Xi­lai

For­mer Chongqing Party chief also ac­cused of em­bez­zling 5 mil­lion yuan

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE in Ji­nan and ZHAO YI­NAN in Bei­jing

The for­mer vice- mayor and po­lice chief of Chongqing con­victed of de­fec­tion, Wang Li­jun, tes­ti­fied in court on Satur­day that fallen se­nior of­fi­cial Bo Xi­lai had al­legedly tried to cover up a mur­der case in­volv­ing Bo’s wife, Bogu Kailai.

Bo, 64, a for­mer mem­ber of the Po­lit­i­cal Bureau of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and Chongqing’s for­mer Party chief, stands ac­cused of bribery, em­bez­zle­ment and abuse of power. The Ji­nan In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court started to hear the case on Thurs­day.

Dur­ing Satur­day’s trial, Wang said Bo phys­i­cally at­tacked him on Jan 29, 2012 — a day af­ter he told Bo that his wife Bogu Kailai had mur­dered Bri­tish cit­i­zen Neil Hey­wood on Nov 15, 2011.

“He (Bo) sud­denly punched me in my left ear, and it wasn’t just a slap,” Wang said in court.

“I found my mouth was bleed­ing, and some­thing was flow­ing out of my ears ... Af­ter (Bo smashed a cup), he tried to at­tack me again but was stopped by Wu (a lo­cal of­fi­cial).”

Wang told the pros­e­cu­tors that, by at­tack­ing him in front of two other of­fi­cials, Bo was threat­en­ing them into si­lence about Bogu Kailai’s in­volve­ment in Hey­wood’s death.

Wang also said Bo re­peat­edly asked him to pro­tect Bo’s son Bo Guagua, who was study­ing in the United States.

“You said that ‘there is only one guy ( Bo Guagua) who looks promis­ing in our fam­ily’,” Wang an­swered when Bo ques­tioned him in court.

Dur­ing his hour and a half in court, Wang gave tes­ti­mony and an­swered ques­tions from pros­e­cu­tors, Bo and his de­fense lawyers.

Wang, 53, was sen­tenced to 15 years in prison for bend­ing the law for self­ish ends, de­fec­tion, abuse of power and ac­cept­ing bribes in Septem­ber 2012.

Wang cov­ered up Hey­wood’s mur­der while serv­ing as Chongqing’s po­lice chief. Wang also en­tered the US con­sulate in Chengdu to at­tempt to de­fect while per­form­ing his of­fi­cial du­ties, ac­cord­ing to the ver­dict of the Chengdu In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court.

Bo was ac­cused of ap­prov­ing the re­lease of the false news that Wang was re­ceiv­ing “va­ca­tion-style treat­ment” af­ter his de­fec­tion.

On Satur­day morn­ing, pros­e­cu­tors again ac­cused Bo of em­bez­zling 5 mil­lion yuan ($817,000) of pro­ject funds as Wang Zheng­gang, then di­rec­tor of the Dalian bureau of ur­ban and ru­ral plan­ning and land, tes­ti­fied.

The pros­e­cu­tors played video and au­dio of Bogu Kailai’s state­ment when she was ques­tioned on Aug 10.

Th e pros­e­cu­tors also pre­sented Bo’s ad­mis­sion and his writ­ten state­ment as ev­i­dence that Bo sug­gested Wang re­mit 5 mil­lion yuan of pro­ject funds to the bank ac­count des­ig­nated by Bogu Kailai.

Bo claimed he did not in­tend to em­bez­zle the funds, but said he should bear some re­spon­si­bil­ity for not hav­ing closely ques­tioned the re­mit­tance.

Bo also men­tioned he had ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs, an­ger­ing his wife, who left home and sent their son to a mid­dle school in Bri­tain.

Bo said Bogu Kailai has a strong per­son­al­ity and never com­plained to him about be­ing short of money.

She had tes­ti­fied Bo knew she had re­ceived a large sum from Wang Zheng­gang.

Bo’s fam­ily ac­cred­ited sev­eral dif­fer­ent lawyers while the case was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and Bo fi nally ap­pointed Li Guifang and Wang Zhaofeng, both from Bei­jing’s DeHeng Law Offi ces, as his de­fense, Ji­nan In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court spokesman Liu Yan­jie said.

“Lots of me­dia have been con­cerned about how the de­fen­dant Bo Xi­lai’s lawyers were se­lected,” Liu said, dur­ing a news briefi ng on Satur­day morn­ing.

“Bo Xi­lai di­rectly hired them as his de­fense lawyers dur­ing the cen­sor­ing and pros­e­cu­tion pro­cesses.”

DeHeng en­joys a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the coun­try’s fi rst law fi rms.

Li Guifang’s profi le on the firm’s web­site claims han­dling diffi cult crim­i­nal lit­i­ga­tion is one of Li’s ar­eas of ex­per­tise. Li is the deputy di­rec­tor of the All China Lawyers As­so­ci­a­tion’s crim­i­nal com­mit­tee and has been a long- term le­gal coun­sel to govern­ment agen­cies and State- owned en­ter­prises.

Wang Zhaofeng’s in­tro­duc­tion on DeHeng’s web­site de­scribes him as a lawyer skilled at set­tling “dif­fi­cult crim­i­nal cases”. He stud­ied for the short time in the United King­dom and the United States, aft er grad­u­at­ing from China’s renowned Ren­min Univer­sity law school, his profi le said.

China Univer­sity of Po­lit­i­cal Science and Law pro­fes­sor Gu Yongzhong said al­low­ing the de­fen­dant to ap­point a le­gal coun­sel dur­ing crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions is one of the many changes added to the lat­est crim­i­nal pro­ce­dure code last year.

“The changes can pro­tect de­fen­dants’ rights, since they have ef­fec­tively en­larged lawyers’ roles in crim­i­nal cases, which helps en­sure sus­pects’ rights dur­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” Gu said.

“The crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was con­sid­ered highly con­fi­den­tial and should be care­fully con­cealed from the out­side, in­clud­ing from lawyers, now has to be trans­par­ent. Lawyers are there to pro­tect the rights of the sus­pects who usu­ally don’t know much about law.”

Gu said Bo is en­ti­tled to ap­point lawyers as his le­gal coun­sels aft er the fi rst in­ter­ro­ga­tion. But he can only have two coun­sels.

WANG JING / CHINA DAILY

Chongqing’s for­mer vice-ma­jor and po­lice chief Wang Li­jun tes­ti­fied on Satur­day that Bo Xi­lai had abused his power.

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