China executes former police chief of Inner Mongolia for murder, bribery

BEIJING (REUTERS) - The Chinese authorities on Friday (May 26) executed the former police chief of the northern region of Inner Mongolia after convicting him of murder, bribery and possession of fire arms and explosives, state media reported.

A court in Taiyuan City in the northern province of Shanxi announced that Zhao Liping had been put to death, after the approval of the supreme court. Last year, the Taiyuan court found Zhao guilty of killing a 26-year-old lady surnamed Li, saying that how he carried out the murder was "especially cruel", though it did not give details.

He also took over two million yuan (S$403,977) in bribes and illegally stored 91 detonators in his office while working as the police chief of Inner Mongolia from 2008 to 2010, according to the court.

Before he was executed, he was allowed to see his close relatives, the court added, without elaborating.

China does not provide statistics for how many people it executes each year, but Amnesty International believes China is the world's top executioner, putting to death more than 1,000 people in 2016.

Inner Mongolia is a strategically important area bordering Russia and Mongolia, covers a tenth of the China's landmass and has the largest coal reserves in the country.

Zhao first became police chief of the region in 2005, and had worked as a police officer for almost three decades.

State media has previously said the victim was his mistress. He stabbed, shot and burned her body after she threatened to expose his corrupt behaviour.

Since he became party chief in 2012, President Xi Jinping has waged war on corruption within the party, warning that a failure to root out graft could jeopardise the party's survival.