Three former police chiefs, all accused of disloyalty to China's President, Xi Jinping, were handed heavy sentences for corruption on Wednesday, just three weeks before the ruling Communist Party’s 20th national congress, SCMP reported.
Gong Daoan, former police chief of Shanghai, Deng Huilin, former police chief of Chongqing, and Liu Xinyun, former police chief of Shanxi province, were sentenced in separate courts in Hebei province.
The Intermediate People’s Court of Tangshan in northern Hebei handed a life sentence to Gong, 58, former deputy mayor and director of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau (PSB), for accepting bribes totalling 73.43 million yuan (US$10.4 million) in his first trial, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
The court ordered that all Gong’s personal property be confiscated, along with all illegal gains recovered by the investigators.
Deng, 57, former party secretary and director of the Chongqing PSB, who also faced his first trial, was sentenced by the Intermediate People’s Court of Baoding to 15 years’ jail for a 42.67 million yuan bribe. Deng also faces fines of 4 million yuan and the proceeds of his crimes were confiscated by the court, CCTV said, quoting the court’s statement.
In his second trial, Liu, 60, was found guilty on Wednesday by the Intermediate People’s Court of Langfang of receiving bribes of 13.33 million yuan and was sentenced to 14 years in jail.
Before the trials, the trio had all been accused by party graft-busters of disloyalty to Xi and being part of a “political clique” led by former public security vice-minister Sun Lijun, according to an official documentary aired on CCTV in January.
Sun, 53, confessed in the nationally televised anti-corruption documentary to collusion with a handful of senior law enforcement officials, abuse of power and accepting huge amounts of money and property in return for favours for businessmen.
Sun is one of the most high-profile figures from the security apparatus to be targeted by graft-busters in recent years. In July, he pleaded guilty to taking bribes worth more than 646 million yuan, manipulating the securities market and illegally possessing firearms. He is awaiting sentencing.
All three police chiefs found guilty on Wednesday have been convicted of crimes that date back as far as the late 1990s, including accepting bribes to help others win business projects, legal cases and promotions.
Gong and Deng spent most of their careers in central Hubei province where they were known as crime busters. Gong became Shanghai’s police chief in 2017 after spending seven years at the Ministry of Public Security’s operational technology bureau.
Liu served as the Shanxi province police chief and vice-governor from 2018 to 2021.
The courts said Gong, Deng and Liu had pleaded guilty, showed repentance and had given investigators new leads in other corruption cases.
Beijing has said other officials in Sun’s corruption ring include former justice minister and deputy minister of public security, Fu Zhenghua; the Ministry of State Security disciplinary chief, Liu Yanping; and former party secretary of Jiangsu’s provincial political and legal committee, Wang Like.
All alleged members of Sun’s clique faced stern disciplinary action, which Beijing regards as a major step in Xi’s attempt to crack the factions in China’s security apparatus. The official media slammed them as “two-faced” people who were only paying lip service to Xi’s command.
Liu Yanping was expelled from the party and dismissed from public office three weeks before the sentencing of Gong, Deng and Liu Xinyun.
In July, Fu pleaded guilty to taking bribes worth over 100 million yuan and hiding his brother’s alleged crimes. Wang pleaded guilty to accepting more than 440 million yuan, covering up and condoning triad organisations and forging identity documents in June. They are all now waiting to be sentenced.
The trio’s sentencing on Wednesday came less than a month before the party congress starts on October 16, when Xi is expected to extend his rule for an unprecedented third term and orchestrate a major reshuffle of the party’s leadership.
The security apparatus has been key to Xi’s anti-corruption campaign since he came to power in 2012, resulting in a slew of high-profile crackdowns against top security officials, including Zhou Yongkang, the former head of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, who was jailed for life in 2015.