JINAN, China (AFP) - Fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai told his trial on Monday that the "real reason" his police chief fled to a US consulate, in an incident that exposed a lurid corruption scandal, was because he was unmasked as being in love with Bo's wife.
The drama, which has captivated China and shaken the ruling Communist Party, erupted when Wang Lijun, Bo's right-hand man in the south-western megacity of Chongqing, tried to seek asylum following the murder of a British businessman.
Bo's wife Gu Kailai was later convicted of poisoning Neil Heywood in a Chongqing hotel room.
Bo told the final day of his corruption trial that Wang decided to flee into the arms of US diplomats because "he secretly loved Gu Kailai and he was confused and overwhelmed by this feeling".
Wang had made his feelings to Gu clear in a letter, Bo said, adding that on one occasion, the policeman was so overcome with emotion that he "slapped himself in the face eight times".
"Gu Kailai said to him 'you're kind of weird'. He replied: 'I used to be weird, now I'm normal'."
During the trial, Bo also confessed to having had extramarital affairs and said Gu moved to Britain because she was angry with him.
The revelations over the tangle of relationships were some of the most bizarre to emerge from Bo's trial in the eastern city of Jinan for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.
"He knew about my personality. And the real reason why he escaped is he harmed my family and my most important emotions. Wang Lijun really wanted to make things more complicated," Bo said.
He also referred to his police chief's attempted defection as a "drama" caused by the fact that Gu and Wang were "as close as paint and glue", a Chinese saying that commonly describes people who are in love.
The revelations were posted on regular but delayed transcripts of court proceedings on an official account on Sina Weibo, a Twitter equivalent, and were the first detailed accounts of the close personal relationships between the Bo family and Wang.
The trial began last Thursday and had initially only been expected to last two days. But it continued until Monday after Bo mounted a spirited defence.