Murder Conviction of Former Police Chief Upheld
(Beijing) — A provincial court has upheld the death sentence of Zhao Liping, a former provincial-level police chief in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, who was convicted of killing a young woman, illegal possession of firearms, and corruption.
The fate of Zhao — who says he is innocent — now rests with the Supreme People's Court, the country’s top court, which will review his case within weeks. Zhao lost his appeal of his convictions on Tuesday at the Shanxi High People’s Court, which upheld a lower court ruling from November.
The Chinese public has closely followed the case in the news media because of its combination of murder, corruption and firearms, which are tightly restricted in China.
Little information about the killing has been publicly released. But several people briefed about the investigation said it began with a phone call to police in March 2015 by a woman who claimed Zhao had shot her.
Police later found the body of a woman dumped in a suburb of Chifeng, about 200 km from the Inner Mongolian capital of Hohhot, where Zhao was Inner Mongolia’s police chief for seven years until July 2012. Zhao then served as deputy head of the advisory body to the regional government.
Investigators determined that a month before the woman was killed, she had demanded 3 million yuan ($437,000) from Zhao in return for promising not to reveal his involvement in illicit deals, according to sources.
Police arrested Zhao on suspicion of murder.
In addition to being convicted of murder, Zhao was also found to have taken 23.7 million yuan in bribes to help associates nail down business deals and get promoted while he was Inner Mongolia’s police authority director, according to court documents.
A private company gave Zhao 20 million yuan to help it acquire 49% of another firm operating a security van fleet, the documents said.
Police also found two weapons and 49 bullets as well as 91 detonators in Zhao’s possession, sources said.
Contact reporter Li Rongde (email@example.com)
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