former police chief Wang speaking during a court hearing in Chengdu (Reuters) Reuters

The trial of the former police chief accused of covering up the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood has ended just 24 hours after it began.

Wang Lijun was convicted of helping to cover up Heywood's death - even though his revelations at Chengu's US consulate in February helped lead investigators to Gu Kailai, who confessed to the murder last month.

Wang was also convicted of defection as punishment for his visit to the US consulate, and of accepting bribes during his time as police chief.

The defendant did not contest any of the charges levelled against him, and is now awaiting the final verdict which will be announced at a later date.

Analysts expect Wang, 52, to receive the same punishment as Gu, who last month admitted to poisoning Heywood after a money dispute in November 2011.

Gu received a suspended death sentence after a hearing which lasted just seven hours.

Secret hearing

The trial has become a national scandal in China, and brought about the downfall of Gu's husband Bo Xilai, previously a rising star of the Communist Party and tipped for a leadership role.

Due to the prominence of the individuals involved, the trial has been handled carefully by authorities.

The first hearing was held in secret on 17 September, while the verdict was announced the following day in a session which was closed to foreign journalists.

Internet censors have blocked searches for Wang's name and related terms on Sina Weibo, China most popular micro blogging site. However bloggers have circumvented the blockade by using the pseudonyms of "head nurse" when referring to Wang.


Between June 2008 and February 2008 Wang served as Bo's right-hand man in Chongqing, serving as chief of police and enforcing Bo's well-publicised campaigns against local gangs.

However Wang was summarily demoted in February 2012. It is reported that he confronted Bo about the murder of Heywood shortly before the demotion.

During his visit to the US consulate in February, Wang told US diplomats that he had firm evidence against Gu, and asked for asylum in America - but was forced to leave the premises before being arrested by Chinese police.

In March, a month after Wang made his accusations, Bo was suspended from the party's 25-member Politburo that is to elect China new president at the Communist Party Congress in October. He has not been seen in public since.

The fast pace of Wang and Gu's trials has been read as evidence of the Party's efforts to end the issue before the leadership takeover.

"[Wang's trial] is probably part of the efforts to put the matter behind before the party congress," Steve Tsang, director of the China Policy Institute at Nottingham University, told IBTimes UK.

"The accused Wang Lijun voluntarily gave himself up after committing the crime of defection, and then gave a truthful account of the main crimes involved in his defection," a spokesman from the Chengdu Intermediate Court told reporters.

Wang, 52 was charged with defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking (Reuters) Reuters