27 July 2012

Chinese lawyer charged with murder of businessman

Gu Kailai -- the lawyer wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai -- has been charged with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, according to local news reports.

Chongqing: British businessman found dead last year

Chongqing: British businessman found dead last year

The Xinhua news agency, quoted by The Independent newspaper, reports that Ms Gu and her aide Zhang Xiaojun have been charged with poisoning Mr Heywood after what was described on the charge sheet as a dispute over money.
Mr Heywood, 41, was found dead on 14 November 2011 at a hotel near Chongqing, where Ms Gu’s husband Mr Bo held power. The Chinese authorities originally told Mr Heywood’s family that he had suffered a heart attack, while the British consulate was told he died from alcohol poisoning. His body was cremated a day after his death, without an autopsy.

Asylum bid

The case exploded when, on 6 February, Chongqing’s deputy chief of police, Wang Lijun, rushed 170 miles to the American consulate in Chengdu and demanded asylum as his life was in danger.
He was released to authorities in Beijing for questioning and revealed he suspected Ms Gu was involved in the death of Mr Heywood. When he had told Mr Bo of his suspicions, the latter grew angry, triggering Mr Wang's concern. Mr Bo was soon sacked from his post.
The Xinhua report said: ‘The facts of the two defendants' crime are clear, and the evidence is irrefutable and substantial. Therefore, the two defendants should be charged with intentional homicide.’ No trial date has been set.


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