China gives senior ex-policeman suspended death sentence

BEIJING (AFP) - The former deputy police chief of the Chinese megacity of Chongqing has been given a suspended death sentence for bribery, a court said on Wednesday, the latest episode in the scandal that brought down Bo Xilai.

Tang Jianhua was condemned to death with two years' reprieve for taking bribes, a Chongqing court official told AFP. Under Chinese law the punishment is normally commuted to life imprisonment.

He was found to have "possessed huge amounts of money from unidentified sources", said the official, who refused to be named, without elaborating.

Previous Chinese media reports said Tang was accused of taking bribes worth more than 16 million yuan ($3.2 million).

There was no confirmation of when he was convicted and sentenced.

Tang was a deputy to Wang Lijun, Chongqing's police chief and right-hand man to Bo, who was then the Communist Party chief in the metropolis.

Bo fell last year in the party's biggest scandal for years, which came to light when Wang fled to a US consulate seeking asylum after a falling-out with his patron.

Bo is now being held at a secret location awaiting trial for crimes including abuse of power and bribery. There has been no indication when the proceedings might take place.

Wang was jailed for 15 years on similar charges, while Bo's wife was handed a suspended death sentence for the murder of a British businessman - the most lurid element in the drama.

Four other police officers have been sentenced to between five and 11 years in jail for their roles in covering up the killing.

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