Police OCPDs detained: RM800k cash in storeroom; Gambling dens masquerading as cybercafes


Caught in the crackdown: (From left) A Melaka-based police corporal was remanded for seven days at the magistrate’s court in Putrajaya to help in a graft probe while former
Inspector P. Kavikumar and L/Kpl Muhammad Harris Mohd Rafe were charged with
receiving bribes at the Sessions Court in Kota Baru.

Police officers on the take allegedly used middlemen – bribes paid into bank account …

RM800,000 shock – cash discovered in storeroom

A whopping RM800,000 in cash was recovered from apolice corporal at a police quarters as the Malaysian Anti-CorruptionCommission continued with its crackdown, which has led to gamblingsyndicates in Melaka shutting down operations and moving out. The blitz is still ongoing with two policemen and two prison warders being charged in Kelantan.

PUTRAJAYA: When RM800,000 in cold, hard cash was found in a police corporal’s Melaka house , it shocked even the most seasoned graft busters. The money is nearly 26 years of his highest-possible salary.

However, the corporal, who is attached to the Melaka police contingent headquarters’ secret societies, gambling and vice division (D7) denied that the money – found in the storeroom of his quarters – was his.

The 52-year-old is the 10th person arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in connection with the case of Melaka police personnel allegedly giving protection to illegal gambling dens and massage parlours.

Sources familiar with the case said the corporal claimed to be holding the money for his superior, an Assistant Superintendent who is now under remand.

“We knew that there was a possibility that we would be finding a substantial amount of money but not that much,” an MACC source told The Star.

The source said the corporal’s claim that he was just holding the money for his superior would be investigated.

“We have both of them in custody, so we will find out more – who the money belongs to, why this man is keeping a lot of cash in his house, and where the money came from,” the source said.

The corporal was picked up at his home at around 2.30pm on Wednesday as the anti-graft body continues its investigation into a protection racket for gambling dens and massage parlours said to be run by senior cops.

He was taken to a court here where magistrate Nik Isfahanie Tasnim Wan Ab Rahman issued a one-week remand order until May 24.

So far, six other police personnel – two district police chiefs with the rank of Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Superintendent, two Assistant Superintendents and two Inspectors – have been remanded to help in MACC’s probe.

Three other individuals, two middlemen and an illegal gambling den operator, are also in MACC custody.

In an unrelated case, an officer with the Subang Jaya district police was remanded for six days over allegations of receiving a RM5,000 bribe.

The 35-year-old inspector was arrested at 1.10pm at his office on Wednesday.

He is alleged to have demanded and accepted the money in return for not bringing a criminal intimidation case to court.

Source: The Star

Related stories:

Illegal gambling operators in Melaka go into hiding

Two prison warders and two cops plead not guilty to graft

Gambling dens masquerading as cybercafes

The recent case in Puchong may be only the tip of the iceberg, with many illegal outlets operating within the Klang Valley.

IT’S no big secret. Illegal gambling dens are thriving in the Klang Valley.

From time to time, the local councils and district police have conducted raids, but the mushrooming of these vice dens has led many to accuse the authorities of turning a blind eye to such activities.

Hardcore gamblers know where to go to get their gambling fix, but the public in general are only starting to realise the severity of the situation because of a viral video and several high-profile arrests of cops over the last few days.

The viral video shows two men entering a so-called cybercafe in Bandara Kinrara, Puchong. They rob the outlet and then take turns to rape the cashier in a hidden corner of the outlet.

While police have acted swiftly – one suspect identified from the video is now in custody – it has now transpired that the cybercafe was actually an illegal gambling den.

In fact, this is now the modus operandi of these gambling outlets. You will see a lot of desktop computers when you enter the premises, but the jackpot machines are hidden at the back.

The robbery of the cybercafe itself would have been chalked off as another crime statistic in the police district of Serdang, but the sexual assault of the unfortunate cashier and the subsequent furore on social media have thrust the case into public consciousness.

The truth is, these illegal gambling outlets have long been protected and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) current crackdown on rogue cops serves only to highlight this fact.

The Star reported yesterday that two OCPDs from Melaka – one an assistant commissioner and the other a deputy superintendent – were arrested by anti-graft officers for links to organised crime syndicates.

These two high-profile arrests come hot on the heels of a swoop on four other senior officers in an operation codenamed Ops Gopi. All six of these cops are believed to be in cahoots with illegal gambling and vice operators in Melaka.

So far, anti-graft officers have seized RM186,000 in cash and have frozen the bank accounts of all suspects, totalling more than RM459,000. MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Azam Baki said his officers were in the midst of tracing the links.

“Give us some time to unearth the inner networking. There may be more arrests depending on the course of our investigations,” he said.

What is even more alarming is information that officers in Bukit Aman could also be implicated in this protection racket. Sources say these officers had knowledge of illegal gambling and vice activities and were actively involved in collecting money from them.

The MACC should be commended for their crackdown on rogue cops, but they should also be training their guns on the Klang Valley. As I mentioned earlier, illegal gambling dens are operating with impunity in Selangor. These outlets can be found in Rawang, Klang, Selayang, Shah Alam, Sepang and even Petaling Jaya.

A few days ago, eight policemen were taken into custody in separate raids in the Klang Valley by Bukit Aman’s Integrity and Standard Compliance Department. But this investigation seems to be focused on drug dealers and their links to crooked cops, the result of which has been a major shake-up in the federal police’s Narcotics Department.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has said that he will not condone or protect those involved in illegal activities. “Stern action will be meted out against any personnel, regardless of rank,” he warned.

Once again, kudos to the cops for trying to get rid of this cancer which has infected the force, but the recent rob-and-rape case at the illegal gambling outlet took place just 1km away from the district police headquarters in Serdang.

Three years ago, StarMetro highlighted the fact that there were up to 40 illegal gambling dens in the Sepang district within a 5km radius. After the exposé, the majority of these outlets were shut down, but recent checks show that a number of them have sprung up again. And almost all them operate behind closed doors.

The outlets could be next to a bank, restaurant, convenience store or even a workshop, but the public remains unaware, thanks to the presence of solid metal shutters and grilles.

However, regular gamblers know that they can get in through a secret door hidden in the stairwell. The door is made of heavily tinted glass with a “no helmet” sticker on it, which serves as a code to identify the outlet.

Another common feature is a switch for a bell on the side of the door. Security is tight as the door and the five-foot way in front of the gambling dens are usually under close surveillance through CCTV.

While fingers are being pointed at police for “overlooking” illegal activities in their midst, questions should also be asked about the roles of the local councils.

The local authorities are quick to take action over unpaid assessment and quit rent, but what about cracking down on illegal gambling outlets that do not have business licences?

The writer believes that these outlets could have obtained legitimate cybercafe operating licences. The onus is on the local authorities to ensure that these business licences are not being abused.

Source: by brian martin

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China cracks down on P2P lending to curb illegal activities


biznews005 CHINA’S P2P INDUSTRY OPERATION

BEIJING: China’s banking regulator issued tough new rules on Wednesday to tighten regulation of the country’s $60 billion peer-to-peer lending sector, which has been dogged by scandals and fraud.

The measures mark the latest attempt by China to reduce risks to the world’s second-largest economy by cleaning up the its rapidly growing but loosely regulated online financial sector.

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms will not be able to take deposits, nor provide any forms of guarantee for lenders, according to a joint document issued by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), Ministry of Public Security, Cyberspace Administration of China, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The regulator said some P2P firms were running Ponzi schemes and raising funds illegally, and said it would bar firms from 13 “forbidden” activities.

Under the new rules, P2P firms would not be permitted to sell wealth management products which are popular with many Chinese investors, nor issue asset-backed securities, and must use third party banks as custodians of investor funds, the regulator said.

It added that P2P firms cannot guarantee investment returns nor investment principal, and they would be subjected to higher disclosure requirements.

The regulations follow the April passage of a plan by the State Council, or cabinet, to clean up the non-bank financial sector after rare demonstrations by angry investors stoked fears of social unrest.

The banking regulator is responsible for tightening regulations over P2P, online trust businesses and online consumer finance firms

China’s online P2P lending platforms, which match small business and individual borrowers with retail investors with spare funds, has seen rapid growth in the past two years largely due to the lack of regulatory oversight.

The industry raised more than 400 billion yuan ($60 billion)by November last year, CBRC data showed.

But among the more than 3,600 P2P platforms, more than 1,000 were problematic, the CBRC had said.

The rise of P2P lending was originally seen by the government as a type of financial innovation that could make funds accessible to credit-hungry consumers and small businesses, which continue to struggle to get loans from traditional financial institutions.

Beijing’s hands-off approach to promote the rapid development of the sector, however, led to a large number of high-profile P2P failures, scandals and frauds.

The consequences have devastated many retail investors, who dumped their life-savings into P2P platforms in hopes of receiving double-digit returns, threatening China’s social and financial stability.

Ezubao, once China’s biggest P2P lending platform, turned out to be a Ponzi scheme that solicited 50 billion yuan ($7.5 billion) in less than two years from more than 900,000 retail investors through savvy marketing.

Investor funds were squandered by Ezubao executives on lavish lifestyles. Retail investors are still unable to get back their hard-earned money, and many have blamed Beijing for its lack of regulation and scrutiny. – Reuters

Related:

Sub-anchor: New guidelines: P2P lending should be small-scale

  •  the China Banking Regulatory Commission are finally laying down the rules. This comes eight months after China started a campaign to crack down on faulty P2P lenders. According to the new rules, P2P lenders should mainly just do small scale lending. The sector should target borrowers who are not serviced…

    • Crossover: P2P financing sector still to develop?

    •  Crossover: P2P financing sector still to develop?. For more on P2P regulations, we talk to Chen Jiahe, chief strategist at Cinda Securities.Q1. The recent series of P2P defaults seriously damaged investors’ faith in P2P financing. Do you think P2P still has a lot of room to develop, after these regulations?…
  • China tightens rules for troubled P2P lending sector

  • China tightens rules for troubled P2P lending sector. China released new rules on Wednesday to tighten regulations covering the country’s scandal-tainted peer-to-peer lending sector. Government officials say reducing risks and illegal activities in the US$60 billion sector has become a key

Moneylender, Kandasamy, gunned down in broad daylight in Kuala Lumpur


https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Enj0F4ey1Hs

KUALA LUMPUR: A 43-year-old moneylender was killed after he was shot at some 16 times near Setapak Central here.

The father of three, who was on his way to meet a relative nearby, was driving alone near a mall when four men on two motorcycles approached his car at 3.55pm yesterday.

“They came when the victim’s car was at the traffic lights. One shooter went to the left and another to the right before both opened fire,” City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Rusdi Mohd Isa told a press conference at the Setapak police station yesterday.

SAC Rusdi said that the shooter on the right fired about three to four shots whereas the other fired twelve and the four men fled shortly after.

“Family members of the victim have confirmed his identity,” said SAC Rusdi, adding that the police would withhold his identity from the press for now.

On whether the shooting might have been gang-related, he said that there is a possibility.

“We have early information on his background of being involved in gangs,” said SAC Rusdi.

A post-mortem would be conducted, he said.

Wangsa Maju OCPD Supt Mohamad Roy Suhaimi Sarif asked members of the public who were present at the time of the shooting to come forward to relay any information they might have on the murder.

A video of what appears to be CCTV footage, which depicts the above chain of events, has been circulating on social media. –  The Star/Asia News Network

Moneylender executed at traffic light

 

Police examine the victim’s vehicle with evident bullet holes on the driver’s side.

KUALA LUMPUR: A 43-year-old man was killed in a hail of bullets after two gunmen opened fire at a traffic light intersection near the KL Festival City Mall at Setapak Sentral in yet another killing involving firearms in the Klang Valley.

The victim, who was a moneylender and suffered at least 10 gunshots, was driving alone in a heavily-tinted Honda Accord when he was attacked at 3.35pm.

He had stopped at the traffic lights and was on his way to have a drink at the mall nearby when four men on two motorcycles arrived seconds later and pulled over next to his car.

Police said the pillion riders, both who were armed with pistols, got off the motorbikes before each of them went up to the driver’s and the front passenger’s sides and opened fire, killing the victim on the spot.

The gunmen who are believed to be hired killers fled with their accomplices soon after and investigators believe the attack is linked to a turf war between underworld gangs.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Commissioner Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh said based on the spent 9mm bullet casings found at the scene, the gunmen fired 18 gunshots.

He said investigators have a street close-circuit camera recording which showed the attack taking place.

Police are also checking if the case is linked to another murder case in Jinjang in January where a 41-year-old contractor died of three gunshot wounds to his face and chest during a meeting with two men near a factory.

Meanwhile, a family member of the victim who was interviewed by theSun said the man had been in hiding for several months because he knew that he was wanted by underworld members and that his life was in danger.

The family member, who declined to be identified, said he heard about the news of the shooting when the viral picture of the victim was sent to him via WhatsApp from a friend.

“At first I did not believe that the victim was my relative, he had shaved his head, probably because he’s been in hiding,” he said.

He said the victim had been involved in underworld activities since he was 25.

By Charles Ramendran and Aiezat Fadzell newsdesk@thesundaily.com

 

IGP: Setapak killers still in the country

By By Justin Zack The Star/Asia News Network

//players.brightcove.net/4405352761001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5057645583001

Video: https://right-waystan.blogspot.my/2016/07/moneylender-gunned-down-in-broad.html

KUALA LUMPUR: The suspects in Wednesday’s fatal shooting at Se­tapak are still in Malaysia, accor­ding to the Inspector-General of Police.

“We believe that they still are here,” said Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar when met by the media after launching KPD Mart Community at Kolej Unikop here yesterday.

On whether the latest shooting pointed to a trend of using hired killers, Khalid said the police did not see it as such.

“We don’t see this as a trend of (using) hired killers but I do not deny that we have these cases.

“These are not random shootings. All these cases had a reason behind the shootings, including the latest shooting,” he said.

Police, Khalid added, would be taking more steps to “minimise” such incidents.

kanna setapak shooting victim

While no arrests have been made yet, the police assure the public that the force “will hunt them down” and that the suspects “cannot run”.

Moneylender V. Kandasamy (pic), 43, was shot dead at a traffic light near Setapak Central when four men on two motorcycles fired a total of 16 shots at him while he was still in his car.

City police chief Comm Datuk Amar Singh, when contacted yes­terday, confirmed that the victim was a member of the “Satu Hati” gang.

China fights corruption, Bo Xilai sentenced to life in prison


Bo's SentencedBo Xilai (sitting on the defendant’s seat), former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, is sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power at the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court in Jinan City, capital of east China’s Shandong Province, Sept. 22, 2013. He was deprived of political rights for life. The court announced the verdict. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi) 
Bo's Sentenced1Bo Xilai (C), former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, is sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power, at the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court in Jinan City, capital of east China’s Shandong Province, Sept. 22, 2013. He was deprived of political rights for life. The court announced the verdict. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi) 

Bo Xilai, former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and a former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Sunday for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

He was deprived of political rights for life, and his personal assets were also confiscated.

The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court in east China’s Shandong Province announced the verdict.

Bo was found guilty of taking bribes totaling 20.44 million yuan (about $3.3 million), either personally or through his family members, between 1999 and 2012.

Bo’s position had been rising during this period, from the mayor of the Dalian in northeast Liaoning province, to the CPC secretary of the city, to the governor of Liaoning and Commerce Minister.

In return, Bo helped Dalian International Development Co. Ltd., of which Tang Xiaolin was general manager, in taking over the Dalian City liaison office in Shenzhen and also helped Tang obtain quota licenses for importing cars, the court said.

According to court findings, Bo granted Xu Ming, chairman of Dalian Shide Group Co. Ltd., favors in the company’s introduction of a football-like sightseeing hot-air balloon and in its bid for a petrochemical project.

The court found that Bo directly accepted cash totaling 1.1 million yuan from Tang. He was aware of and showed no objection to the fact that his wife Bogu Kailai and their son, Bo Guagua, accepted monetary gains and properties worth 19.33 million yuan from Xu.

According to the verdict, Bo Xilai, while Party chief Dalian in 2000, assigned Wang Zhenggang, then urban planning chief of the city, to take charge of a project to be built by Dalian for an unidentified higher authority.

In March 2002, after the project was completed, the higher authority allocated 5 million yuan to refund the project. Wang proposed that Bo, who had moved to become the governor of Liaoning, use money to cover the expenses of his family. Bo consented and asked Wang to approach his wife Bogu Kailai for the matter.

The 5 million yuan was eventually transferred to an account designated by Bogu.

The court’s judgement said on Nov. 13, 2011, Bogu and Zhang Xiaojun murdered British citizen Neil Heywood by poisoning him at the Lucky Holiday Hotel in Chongqing. Heywood’s body was found on Nov. 15.

Guo Weiguo, then deputy police chief of Chongqing, was in charge of the Heywood case, but he failed to pursue the case to protect Bogu, the court said.

On Jan. 28, 2012, Wang Lijun, then Chongqing’s police chief and vice mayor, told Bo Xilai, then Chongqing’s Party chief and member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau that Bogu was the suspect.

Bo later lashed out at Wang for framing a murder accusation against Bogu, slapping Wang’s face and smashing a cup.

At the request of Bogu, Bo asked Wu Wenkang, then deputy secretary general of Chongqing’s Party committee, to launch an investigation against Wang Zhi and Wang Pengfei.

The two had been involved in the investigation of the Heywood case but had then handed over a resignation letter in order to expose the murder case.

Bo asked Chongqing’s Public Security Bureau to interrogate Wang Pengfei. Bo proposed and approved the withdrawal of the nomination of Wang Pengfei as a candidate for deputy head of Yubei District of Chongqing.

In his bid to prevent a review of the Heywood case, Bo also violated the organizational procedures and convened a Standing Committee meeting of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee to remove Wang Lijun from his position as Chongqing’s police chief.

After Wang Lijun’s defection to the US Consulate General in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province on Feb. 6, Bo allowed his wife to take part in official meetings to deal with the impact, and sanctioned her suggestion of asking a hospital to fake a diagnosis that Wang suffered from mental illness. Bo also approved the release of the false information that Wang was receiving a “vacation-style treatment.”

The verdict said Bo’s these actions were important reasons behind Wang’s defection and why the Heywood case was not handled in a timely and legal manner.

All these had created an extremely adverse social impact and greatly hurt the interests of the country and its people, the court said.

The court found Bo guilty of bribe-taking, in that as a public servant, he used his power to seek benefits for others and illegally took money and properties from others.

Also as a public servant, Bo took advantage of his position and embezzled public funds with other accomplices, the facts of which constituted the crime of embezzlement.

The court said Bo’s abuse of power is extremely serious and has led to huge losses to the state and the people.

The court held that there are sufficient and authentic evidences to support prosecutors’ charges against Bo: accepting bribes worth 20.44 million yuan (about $3.3 million), embezzling public funds of 5 million yuan and abusing his power.

Though Bo himself and his lawyer had denied all three charges, the court said these charges are supported by testimonies by several witnesses including Tang Xiaolin, Xu Ming, Bogu Kailai, Wang Zhenggang, Wang Lijun and others, as well as other evidence such as photographs of physical evidence, documentary evidence and electronic data.

In addition, Bo himself has also confessed to part of the facts, and his confession corroborated with those facts.

The court did, however, exclude 1.34 million yuan from the bribery accepted by Bo, saying that there are not enough evidence to support the charge that Xu Ming paid the amount in air tickets for Bogu Kailai and Bo Guagua and that Bo was aware of this.

The illicit money and goods that Bo accepted as bribes or embezzled have been recovered or compensated, the court said.

The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court said its verdict was based on the facts, the nature and the circumstances of Bo’s crimes and their harm to the society.

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China’s content-rich microblogs

Weibo brings public confidence in Bo Xilai’s trial openness; Bo contradicts wife made up evidence


Bo-xilai-mobile-microblog
A mobile phone held by the photographer shows a photo from a court’s microblog page of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai standing trial (Reuters)

The widely watched trial of former senior official Bo Xilai was broadcast live on Weibo over the past two days, a surprise for many people at both home and abroad.

Pictures and video clips were shown. Transcripts from both the defense and prosecution were also released, including parts where Bo denied evidence presented by prosecutors.

This degree of transparency has not happened before. This will create a precedent that will bring lasting impact to the future trials of sensitive cases.

This Weibo live feed has served as an important guarantee of a fair trial for Bo in accordance with the law. The live show has addressed various doubts and rumors in and outside China. It demonstrated that the authorities are ready to receive more public scrutiny.

This is not a political trial, nor a moral one. This will only be a trial by law. Even if someone might have personal goals, before the public eye, there is no way to achieve anything in this trial, anything that is not tolerated by the law.

Besides assuring a fair trial for Bo’s case, the Weibo live feed has also convinced more people about China’s sincere desire to improve the rule of law.

For a while, the Chinese public has been complaining about injustice in constant news reports of scandals or social issues.

The open and transparent trial of Bo provided a different picture to the public, which will significantly change the image of the judicial system.

The most important thing now is to have a fair trial for Bo’s case, which will naturally boost the public’s confidence.

We have seen a very good opening of this trial, with widespread applause and support from various walks of life.

Of course, the Weibo live feed is not without risks. Breaking news about Bo’s scandal had already become a sensation. People have been expressing all kinds of opinions online, no matter how much they know of China’s legal system. Foreign media have also shown great interest in covering this.

No matter what ruling the court eventually gives, there must be some different opinions from the public. The Weibo live feed provided great details of the trial, which will only add fuel to the public discussion about this case.

The development of the rule of law needs both the judicial authorities’ hard work in each case and public support.

Major cases will not only avoid “political judgment,” but also “public opinion judgment.”

A fair trial needs to follow strict legal procedures, while under public scrutiny.

But in the end, it is the court that is responsible for giving a ruling according to the law.

Contributed by By Global Times

Bo Contradicts Wife as Chinese Media Stress Trial’s Transparency

Ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai suggested his wife made up evidence to avoid a death sentence and denied covering up a British man’s murder at a trial that state media said was proof no one’s above the law in China.

“I feel there are big discrepancies in the charges I have been accused of,” Bo said yesterday of the claim that he tried to hide his wife Gu Kailai’s involvement in Neil Heywood’s murder, according to a transcript released by the court. Gu was given a suspended death sentence last year for killing Heywood, and Bo is accused of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

Bo Xilai's Wife Gu Kailai People watch a recorded testimony by Gu Kailai, wife of former Chinese Politburo member Bo Xilai, broadcast at a hotel near the Jinan Intermediate People’s Court in Jinan on Aug. 23, 2013. Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.
Bo Xilai Is a Scapegoat in `Show Trial,' Howie Says
Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) — Fraser Howie, a director at Newedge Singapore and co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise,” talks about former Politburo member Bo Xilai’s trial. Bo went on trial today for bribery and embezzlement with China’s judiciary as much in the spotlight as the man at the center of the country’s most politically charged case in 30 years. Howie speaks from Singapore with Angie Lau on Bloomberg Television’s “Asia Edge.” (Source: Bloomberg).
Bo Xilai Denied Taking Bribes
Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) –- Bloomberg’s Stephen Engle reports on the start of day two of the Bo Xilai trial on Bloomberg Television’s “First Up.” (Source: Bloomberg) .  
Lam: Trial Is a Choreographed Show
Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) –- Chinese University Of Hong Kong Adjunct Professor Willy Lam discusses the Bo Xilai trial with Rishaad Salamat on Bloomberg Television’s “On The Move Asia.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Bo, 64, mounted a defense that did an effective job of exposing gaps in the case against him, even though the Communist Party remains in control and a guilty verdict is almost certain, according toNicholas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch. The case has broken with past political trials because the court is releasing live updates and detailed transcripts of the proceedings.

“It’s clear that the party is trying to give maximum legitimacy to the judiciary proceedings that will put an end to the Bo Xilai affair,’ Bequelin said. ‘‘But I think that the effect has been somewhat unexpected for the authorities. Bo is coming out looking pretty good.”

Party Secretary

Bo, a former commerce minister and party secretary of Chongqing municipality, was once considered a rising star in the Communist Party. His downfall in March of last year upended a once-a-decade leadership transition and shone a spotlight on corruption at the party’s highest levels.

Along with bribery and embezzlement charges that had been the focus since the trial began Aug. 22, Bo is charged with abuse of power for allegedly trying to cover up Gu’s role in Heywood’s 2011 murder. The court came to that charge yesterday, and the trial continues today.

Bo was removed as Chongqing party secretary and ousted from the Politburo last year after his former police chief in the city, Wang Lijun, fled to a U.S. consulate with evidence about his wife’s alleged involvement in Heywood’s death. Wang testified yesterday that Bo slapped him in the face when confronted with the possibility that Gu was responsible for the murder.

“My body twitched, and when he was done hitting me, he went back to sit at the table,” Wang testified yesterday. “I noticed my mouth was bleeding, and something was flowing out of my ear.”

Wang was convicted of “bending the law for selfish ends” and sentenced to 15 years in prison last year.

Central Part

Testimony by Gu has been a central part of the prosecution’s case, and included claims yesterday that Bo knew about a 5 million-yuan ($817,000) “consulting fee” given to the family by Wang Zhenggang, a former urban planning official in Dalian when Bo was the city mayor.

“I have feelings for Gu Kailai — she is a relatively weak woman,” Bo said yesterday, according to the transcript. “By telling on someone else she could soon get out of the death penalty. Who could she accuse? All the accusations against me come from Gu Kailai.”

Police cordoned off the streets around the courthouse with metal barricades and yellow plastic tape, emptying out an area about the size of two football fields in what’s normally a crowded city center. The only people on the streets nearby were police in blue uniforms, while black sedans and white vans occasionally came and went from the court building.

Bo’s testimony gave details about his life with Gu, and why she and their son, Bo Guagua, moved abroad. Guagua went to the elite British boarding school Harrow and later to Oxford University, and then graduated from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Had Affairs

“I did have extramarital affairs — she was very angry about that,” Bo said, adding that he had no need to embezzle money because his wife had made millions of yuan as a lawyer. “So her bringing Guagua abroad was out of anger.”

In a country where the Communist Party maintains strict control of sensitive political trials, the state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial the decision to release updates on Weibo, Sina Corp.’s Twitter-like microblogging platform, “served as an important guarantee of a fair trial for Bo in accordance with the law.”

“This degree of transparency has not happened before,” the editorial said. “This will create a precedent that will bring lasting impact to the future trials of sensitive cases.”

The details revealed in the trial demonstrate that “no one is above the law,” the party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper said. “In the fight against corruption we are after both flies and tigers.”

Hailed Openness

The official Xinhua News Agency said both domestic and foreign media have “hailed the openness and transparency” of the live blogging.

“The public also generally believe that this showcases the Communist Party of China’s resolve in combating corruption and that the move represents historic progress for the rule of law in China,” Xinhua said.

Allowing so much of Bo’s trial to be aired publicly is risky for the Communist Party because it may garner Bo new support from people impressed by his vigorous defense, according to Randy Peerenboom, a law professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. That, in turn, may backfire on Bo because the party is still in control, he said.

“If it is the case that Bo Xilai has once again wandered off-script, and the leadership is worried that his cool performance under pressure has won him new admirers, then it is possible that he will receive a much harsher punishment than originally planned,” Peerenboom wrote in an e-mail. 

– Contributed by

Wife and police chief ‘in love triangle’

The most spectacular trial that China has ever witnessed closed with its biggest shock of all as Bo Xilai revealed a tragic love affair between his wife and his city Chongqing’s police chief.

Defiant until the end of his trial on charges of corruption and abuse of power, the 64-year-old fallen leader brushed his lawyers aside to make a final oration that displayed all the bravura that made him such a magnetic figure, and caused China’s other leaders such anxiety.

Behind the biggest drama to hit China‘s Communist Party since the protests in Tiananmen Square, Mr Bo said, was a story of how Chongqing’s police chief, Wang Lijun, had fallen inexorably in love with his wife, Gu Kailai.


 Gu Kailai, wife of ousted Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Bo Xilai
When Mr Bo caught the pair, he claimed, the police chief of the city he ruled had fled his wrath, running to the safety of the United States consulate in a city 160 miles away, a treason which led to their mutual downfall.

“Wang was secretly in love with Gu Kailai for a long time,” Mr Bo told the court, adding that the police chief had declared his passion in a love letter. “In the letter it said he had always had feelings for Kailai and he could not help himself. He even slapped himself in the face eight times.”

“You are acting crazily,” Gu told her suitor, according to Mr Bo. “No, I used to be crazy, but now I am sane,” Wang allegedly replied.

   Former police chief Wang Lijun (Reuters) >>
Mr Bo said Wang had visited his home every day because he was drawn to his wife, and suggested the relationship did not go unrequited.

“They had an extremely special relationship. I was fed up with it,” said Mr Bo. “Gu Kailai even brought Wang’s shoes into my house. I told Zhang Xiaojun (an aide) to get rid of them immediately”.

But when Mr Bo uncovered the relationship, his city’s police chief knew he had made a potentially fatal mistake. “He knew my character. He hurt my family. He hurt my feelings,” Mr Bo said.

There had long been rumours in Chongqing that the previously close bond between Mr Bo and Wang was shattered when they became tangled in a love triangle.

But the allegations by Mr Bo raise new and intriguing questions about the planning of, and the motive for, the murder of Neil Heywood. Wang had previously confessed that he helped Gu plan Mr Heywood’s killing.

Mr Bo’s tale of mad passion caused an instant sensation on the Chinese internet, with one popular post suggesting that the lovers were doomed from the start: Gu was a Scorpio while Wang was a Capricorn and therefore incompatible.

Before revealing the drama in his household, Mr Bo had earlier ridiculed the prosecution’s closing statement, saying: “Even the lowest level television soap cannot have this kind of plot,” he said.

Responding to accusations that he must have been aware of the luxurious lifestyle his family was living, under his nose, Mr Bo asked: “Is Gu Kailai a civilised woman or not?

“Did she want me to love her or not? Would she have come and bothered me with these trifles every day? I was the governor of Liaoning province,” he added.

To accusations that his 25-year-old son, Guagua, spent huge sums travelling the world and carousing, Mr Bo said: “If Guagua kept asking for money for fancy watches and cars and international travel, if he wanted us to pay for his friends and owed the bank huge sums of money, would I have loved such a son?”.

Instead, Mr Bo said, his family was so frugal that he was still wore padded winter trousers that his mother had bought for him in the 1960s.

Mr Bo also repeated that much of the evidence against him had been coerced.

“All of the written confessions I signed before were made against my will,” he said, adding that he had hoped, by confessing, to win rehabilitation.

“I had a hope deep in my heart that I would not be expelled from the Party, I would keep membership and I would keep my political life.”

It was unclear whether Mr Bo’s impressive rhetoric would win him more public support, with hundreds of thousands of people reading his statement on the live-feed from court.

But it did little to help his legal case, and his lawyers even admitted that it was only after 2005, when Mr Bo was promoted to higher office, that corruption had stopped. “He woke up,” they said.

Mr Bo’s defiance may also cost him dearly, in the form of a tougher sentence.

“He not only denied crimes that have been fully backed up with solid evidence, but he also recanted his earlier testimony,” the prosecutors said. “His attitude is to refuse to confess wrongdoing… he should receive harsh punishment.”

If convicted, Mr Bo technically faces the death penalty, although a member of China’s Communist Politburo has never been executed.

As he made his final statement, perhaps the last statement he will ever make in public, Mr Bo said: “I know I am not a perfect man, I am subjective and easily angered. I have made some serious mistakes and problems. I failed to manage my family.”

The court will reconvene at a later date to reveal the verdict.

– Contributed by Malcolm Moore, Jinan  Telegraph UK

China’s Bo Xilai on trial


JINAN, Aug. 23 — Jinan Intermediate People’s Court in east China’s Shandong Province continued to hear the case of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power involving Bo Xilai for a second day on Friday.

Bo Trial_who who

The 64-year-old Bo is former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and former member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau.

Prosecutors accuse Bo accepted bribes worth about 21.8 million yuan (about 3.5 million U.S. dollars) from businessmen Tang Xiaolin and Xu Ming and embezzled five million yuan in public funds from the Dalian municipal government. He was also accused of abusing power when dealing with his wife Bogu Kailai’s murder case and the defection of his associate, Wang Lijun, in 2012.

Bo_wife

On the second day of the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Bo accepted a large sum of money and property from Xu Ming through his wife, Bogu Kailai, and his son, Bo Guagua.

In the morning session prosecutors presented documentary evidence and played a video recording of Bogu Kailai’s testimony on Aug. 10 this year.

Prosecutors also read testimony by Bogu Kailai and Frenchman Patrick Devillers.

Video and audio evidence shown in court indicated that Xu Ming provided funds for Bogu Kailai to buy a villa in France worth over 2.32 million Euros (16.25 million yuan), and that Bo Xilai was aware of this.

In the afternoon session, evidence included testimony of witnesses including Zhang Xiaojun, photographs of material evidence, confessions and the handwritten confessions of the defendant, proving that through his wife and son, Bo received almost 4.43 million yuan from Xu Ming, to pay for international and domestic air tickets, accommodations and travelling expenses, to pay off credit card debt, and buy a Segway scooter.

Prosecutors, the defendant and his lawyers examined the evidence.

Facing key facts of the charges, Bo defended that the evidence was irrelevant, saying he had only a vague impression of amounts and no one had told him exactly how much money was spent. His lawyers expressed views on the truth of witnesses’ testimonies and the legality of the documentary evidence.

Prosecutor responded directly, pointing out that the defendant had expressed numerous conflicting views on key facts during his defense.

Prosecutors said that the evidence presented in court was taken legally from clear sources and should be examined comprehensively in the context of the entire case.

Wang Zhenggang, then director of the Dalian municipal bureau of urban and rural planning and land, appeared in the afternoon to testify on embezzlement charge against Bo.

Wang was handled in a separate case.

The court will continue to hear the case on Saturday to maintain the continuity of the trial, as agreed by prosecutors, the defendant and his lawyers. 

– Contributed by DuMingming、Liang Jun

Bo’s trial updated live on microblog

Bo's Trial_ WeiboA woman views the Chinese social media website Weibo at a cafe in Beijing on April 2, 2012 (AFP/File, Mark Ralston)

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf?videoCenterId=57befd4085af42d598ea8c3db6e70aab&tai=outSide.english&videoId=20130822105302
http://english.cntv.cn/program/china24/20130822/105302.shtml

The highly anticipated trial of former politburo member Bo Xilai began Thursday, surprisingly with an almost unprecedented flood of real-time information about the proceedings.

The Jinan Intermediate People’s Court used Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblog service, to deliver a running account of the trial since its start. The number of followers of its microblog page has jumped from less than 10,000 on Wednesday to over 300,000 by 7 pm Thursday. The court also arranged a media lobby at a nearby hotel, to provide live feed of trial details to reporters.

This is the first time details of a trial of a senior Chinese official have been released real-time to the public. In the past, such high level court trials took place behind closed doors, with details being released only after sentencing.

Bo calls wife mad after she testifies against him 
 

JINAN, China (Reuters) – Fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai called his wife insane after she testified at his landmark trial on Friday that he knew of money and a villa in the French Riviera that prosecutors say were given to the couple by a businessman friend.

The video and written testimony by Gu Kailai directly contradicted Bo’s robust defence on Thursday, and appear to set him up to be found guilty in China’s most dramatic trial since the Gang of Four were dethroned in 1976 at the end of the Cultural Revolution.

“He should know about it all,” Gu said in a video recording shown in court and posted on the court’s microblog, when asked whether Bo knew that she and their son, Bo Guagua, had received money from plastics-to-property entrepreneur Xu Ming.

Bo dismissed Gu’s testimony as the ravings of a madwoman.

“Bogu Kailai has changed, she’s insane, often tells lies,” Bo said, according to transcripts on the court microblog, using Gu’s official but rarely used name. “Under the circumstances of her mental illness, the investigators placed huge pressure on her to expose me.

“Her testimony as far as I am concerned, was (given) under psychological pressure, and driven by (hope of) a reduced sentence,” he added.

Gu has been jailed for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood in November 2011, the crime which eventually led to Bo’s downfall.

The businessman Xu, who is also in custody, was once close to the Bo family, but also testified against him on Thursday, according to the transcripts. Foreign reporters were not allowed into the court.

Bo, the 64-year-old former Communist Party chief of Chongqing metropolis, has been charged with illegally taking almost 27 million yuan (2.82 million pounds), corruption and abuse of power. Of that amount, about 21.8 million yuan came from Xu and another businessman Tang Xiaolin, the court said, citing the indictment.

Bo was a rising star in China’s leadership circles when his career was stopped short last year by the scandal involving Gu.

Supporters of Bo’s Maoist-themed social programmes say he lost out in a power struggle with capitalist-leaning reformists in Beijing, exposing divisions within the ruling party as well as Chinese society.

Last week, two sources told Reuters that Gu would only testify against her husband if a deal had been reached with authorities to protect their son.

A deal in which Bo can be swiftly convicted and sent to jail, sparing him a death penalty and with no repercussions for his son, would be in the interest of China’s leadership, which wants the trial to be concluded without causing open friction between Bo’s followers and critics.

On Thursday, observers said the court proceedings were probably scripted and that Bo could receive a pre-arranged sentence in exchange for limited outbursts that would show that the trial was fair, appeasing his followers.

The trial will continue for a third day on Saturday, the court said, despite expectations it could last just a single day.

VILLA IN NICE

In written testimony, Gu said she had shown Bo the graphics and slideshows for the design of a villa in Nice, France that was paid for by Xu. Bo asked her about the slideshows and according to Gu, she told Bo about Xu’s involvement.

“Therefore he knew that I asked Xu Ming to pay for this villa in France,” Gu said in her written statement.

In the poorly shot video, Gu appeared soft-spoken and composed as she was questioned by a worker from the state prosecutor’s office. She laughed when asked whether she had been coerced into giving evidence.

Gu did not link Bo with Heywood’s murder, but said he was aware she considered the Briton a threat to their son. According to testimony at Gu’s trial, she killed Heywood because he had threatened Guagua after a business dispute with Gu.

Gu said Bo was also aware of her fears about the safety of Guagua, who is now in the United States
preparing for a law degree at Columbia University. Gu said she was afraid Guagua “would be kidnapped and killed in America”.

“In 2011, Guagua’s personal safety was threatened and Bo Xilai understood this,” she said in her written testimony.

“We drew up a blacklist of suspicious people. One of them was Neil Heywood. I explained all of this to Bo Xilai.”

Bo could face the death sentence, though a suspended death sentence is more likely, which effectively means life imprisonment, or a 20-year term.

Contributed by John Ruwitch – The Star (Additional reporting by Judy Hua in JINAN and Sui-Lee Wee, Ben Blanchard and Hui Li in BEIJING, Writing by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Bo’s trial updated live on microblog

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf?videoCenterId=57befd4085af42d598ea8c3db6e70aab&tai=outSide.english&videoId=20130822105302

http://english.cntv.cn/program/china24/20130822/105302.shtml

Related post:
China’s content-rich microblogs

It’s not about rights or peace


There are many reasons why crimes happen, but let us not get befuddled by the view that we have to sacrifice our rights in order to live in peace.

Sungai Nibong_04 gang members killedMurder victims: Police personnel bringing out the bodies of the five men who were gunned down at an apartment in Sungai Nibong.

It is quite nice to hear the Prime Minister declare that any future development in criminal laws will not infringe upon human rights. Well, let’s hope that is true.

The thing is, by this statement there is an unsaid implication that human rights and crime are something that are somehow related. One retiree for example said that the price for more freedom is higher crime.

I wondered if this is true. After all, in our country, we respect the old, so perhaps there is some wisdom in this octogenarian’s statement.

So, I decided to poke around the information superhighway (Hah! Bet you haven’t hear that term for a while), and I chanced upon a study done by the United Nations office on drugs and crime in 2012. The study was a comprehensive survey of homicides around the world.

If greater freedom equates with greater crime (here the crime in question is murder), then we should see countries with the greatest civil liberties leading the pack. Crickey, a place like Denmark should, theoretically, be littered with dead bodies everywhere. You shouldn’t be able to walk to your corner shop to buy your poached cod or whatever is eaten in those parts, without having to step over cadavers riddled with bullet holes.

After all, they have ratified about thirty human rights treaties (including one against the death penalty); their criminals must be running around high on Carlsberg and whacking every Thor, Dag and Hagen that they come across.

But, this is not the case. They have one of the lowest murder rates in the world. 0.9 per every 100,000 people. To give that some sense of perspective, our murder rate is 2.3 per every 100,000 people. In fact, looking at the study, we see that there is simply no correlation between civil liberties and crime. The regions with the highest homicide rate tend to be those which are desperately poor.

Now this is of course a cursory amble of the Internet on my part and not some serious academic study, but it seems to me that it is very clear that to equate more human rights to more crime is simply not supported by the facts.

The reason I raise this is that we are often faced with the argument that it is one or the other. Rights or peace. This is simply not the case.

In the light of the recent spate of high profile and horrific crimes that we have faced and the police force’s “war” on gangsters, let us not get befuddled by the view that we have to sacrifice our rights in order to live in peace.

There are a myriad of reasons why crimes happen and these must be examined and studied so that any “war” on crime has to be fought on the correct “battlefield”.

For example, poverty and the vast disparity of wealth between the haves and the have not’s seem to be one of the things that the world’s most murder ridden nations have in common.

It sure as heck is not their observance of human rights principles.

So, yes, let us make all efforts to ensure that this country of ours has the least crime possible, but leave our rights (what little of them we have) well enough alone.

 Brave New World by AZMI SHAROM
Azmi Sharom (azmisharom@yahoo.co.uk) is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely his own.

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