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Former Chinese police chief sentenced to 15 years

The former police chief who helped set in motion a major scandal in China's ruling Communist party has been jailed for 15 years for defection and other crimes. Wang Lijun was accused of covering up a murder.

This Sept. 18, 2012 video image taken from CCTV shows Wang Lijun, center, being taken to the trial at the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province. A Chinese court will announce a verdict Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 for the ex-police chief at the center of a seamy political scandal that has buffeted China's leadership. (Foto:CCTV via AP video/AP/dapd) CHINA OUT, TV OUT // Eingestellt von wa

Wang Lijun / China / Prozess / Chengdu

The police chief at the heart of a scandal that toppled Chinese political leader Bo Xilai was convicted on Monday of "bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe taking," Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.

Wang Lijun was on trial in the southwestern city of Chengdu, accused of helping Bo's wife Gu Kailai to cover up the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Wang had accepted the 15-year prison sentence, Xinhua reported, and told the court he would not lodge an appeal, and the Reuters news agency reported that his lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

Wang fled to the US consulate in Chengdu in February, he subsequently left and spoke openly about the case. His revelations set the high-profile scandal in motion. Wang was the police chief of the metropolis Chongqing, where Bo was the Communist party's highest-ranking official.

Bo's wife Gu Kailai was given a suspended death sentence, which is usually commuted to life in prison in China, last month for Heywood's murder.

Bo was sacked as Chongqing party leader in March and dismissed from the party's influential Politburo in April; he does not face any criminal charges, however, and the Chinese government has not said whether further action will be taken. So far, he has only been accused of breaching internal party rules.

msh/mz (AFP, dpa, Reuters)