China implicated former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai in a criminal case for the first time yesterday in an official account of the two-day trial of his one-time police chief.
It said Wang Lijun, ex-police chief and vice mayor of the southwestern city, tried to tell the then chief of the Communist Party of China Chongqing Committee - its Party Secretary Bo - that Bo's wife Bogu Kailai was suspected of murdering a British businessman.
But Wang was "angrily rebuked and had his ears boxed," according to the official account of Wang's trial this week in Chongqing's neighboring city of Chengdu.
Witness testimonies showed that on January 28, Wang reported to the then Party chief that Bogu was highly suspected in the November 15, 2011, case. On the morning of January 29, Wang was angrily rebuked and slapped in the face by the official.
The virtually unmistakable reference to Bo increases the chances of him facing criminal charges, possibly for covering up a crime or corruption.
So far, Bo has only been accused of breaching internal Party discipline.
Wang, 52, lifted the lid on the murder and cover-up of British businessman Neil Heywood in February when he went to the US consulate in Chengdu and told envoys there about the murder.
Within two months of Wang's visit to the consulate, Bo was sacked as Chongqing's Party secretary and from the Communist Party's Politburo, and Bo's wife was accused of poisoning the businessman.
A court has since imposed a suspended death sentence on Bogu for the killing.
According to the account of Wang's trial, the day after Bogu poisoned Heywood in a Chongqing hotel, Wang met her and she acknowledged that she had killed him. Wang secretly recorded that conversation, but did not act on Bogu's admission.
"I was so consumed by my selfish ideas then that I didn't want to handle the case," Xinhua news agency quoted Wang as saying in his testimony.
"After coming to Chongqing, I often visited Bogu Kailai's home, and I thought she treated me quite well. I knew if the case was treated as a homicide, it would be huge. However, to avoid antagonism with Bogu Kailai, I shunned the case," Wang said.
On November 15, after Heywood was found dead, Wang instructed Guo Weiguo, then Chongqing's deputy police chief and a close friend of Bogu's, to handle the case without telling Guo or other policemen that he possessed clues and recorded evidence of Bogu's involvement.
Later, Wang called a vice chief of criminal investigations, surnamed Huang, away from the crime scene and asked him to leave the case.
The next morning, Guo, Li Yang (former chief of the bureau's crime department), Wang Pengfei (former chief of the bureau's technical detection team) and Wang Zhi (former executive deputy chief of the police sub-bureau of Chongqing's Shapingba District) concluded that Heywood died from an alcohol overdose. All four have since been jailed for their part in the cover-up.
As the weeks went on, problems began to arise between Wang and Bogu. He felt that she was turning against him.
Several of Wang's colleagues became targets of "illegal investigations" and Wang began to feel he was in danger and so decided to flee.
Xu Ming, a plastics-to-property entrepreneur, is said to have offered two homes in Beijing worth over 2.85 million yuan (US$450,000) to a relative of Wang. In return, Wang helped free three of Xu's associates who had been taken into custody in Chongqing. Xu was detained in March.
A former intelligence agent, Yu Junshi, who has also been detained since March, was cited as renting expensive villas for Wang, in return for the freedom of another man held by the Chongqing police.