World News‎ > ‎

China policemen admit trying to cover-up Heywood murder - court

posted 10 Aug 2012, 07:24 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 10 Aug 2012, 07:24 ]

A Chinese court official says four Chinese police officers have admitted trying to cover up the murder of a British businessman by the wife of ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai.

HEFEI, ANHUI PROVINCE, CHINA (AUGUST 10, 2012) (REUTERS) - 
Four Chinese policemen admitted on Friday (August 10) to attempting to protect the wife of powerful politician Bo Xilai from suspicion of the murder of a British businessman, an official said, in another damaging development for the ex-Politburo member.
The official's statement, given after an 11-hour hearing barred to non-official media, formally establishes for the first time that there was an attempted cover-up of the murder of businessman Neil Heywood and comes just a day after Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, chose not to contest a charge of poisoning Heywood.


Neither the official account of Gu's closed-door trial, the most politically explosive case in China in three decades, nor that of Friday's proceedings mentioned Bo by name. But the legal noose appears to tightening around the brash politician who cast himself as a leftist alternative to China's rulers.


Tang Yigan, deputy director of the Hefei Intermediate People's court, told reporters in the eastern city of Hefei that the four - all police from Bo's former power base of southwest Chongqing, the vast municipality where Heywood was killed last November - had discovered that Gu was the culprit.


"During interviews and investigation at the scene, Guo Weiguo and the others found that Gu Kailai was highly suspicious. By falsifying interview records, concealing evidence and other means, they covered up the fact that she had been at the scene. They also agreed on deeming Heywood's death to have been a sudden death caused by drinking and on not establishing a criminal case. They also induced Neil Heywood's family to accept the conclusion that it was a sudden death after drinking, and they did not carry out an autopsy and carried out a cremation," Tang said, adding that one of the four policemen, Guo Weiguo, was a friend of the Bo family.


Formal verdicts for Gu and the four policemen - Guo Weiguo, Li Yang, Wang Pengfei and Wang Zhi - are to be handed down at a later date, the court said.


Bo's former Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun, has yet to be indicted, though the South China Morning Post has said Wang's trial could follow next week.


Gu and a family aide are accused of poisoning Heywood at a Chongqing hotel after a business dispute between her and the Briton turned personal. Chongqing police sources told Reuters before her trial that Bo had ordered a cover-up after being told by Wang in January that Gu was the chief suspect.


The murder scandal erupted after Wang dramatically sought temporary refuge in a U.S. consulate in February, just weeks after he was said to have confronted Bo with Gu's involvement.


Bo was sacked as Chongqing boss in March and his wife was publicly accused of Heywood's murder in April, when Bo was also dumped from the Politburo and detained on an accusation he had violated party discipline - code for corruption, abuse of power and other misdeeds.


Until then, Heywood's death had been attributed to a possible heart attack brought on by too much alcohol.


Chen Guangwu, a criminal defence attorney who has followed the Chongqing case closely, said he expected the verdicts against Gu and the four policemen to come in about two weeks.


Bo's downfall has stirred more public division than that of any other party leader for more than 30 years.

Comments