The one-time Chinese police chief who blew the whistle on the Bo Xilai murder scandal has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. Wang Lijun, who attempted earlier this year to defect to the US, was sentenced today by the Chengdu City Intermediate People's Court for bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power, and taking some $480,000 in bribes, reports CNN. The sentence was considered lenient, given that he could have been sentenced to death for the bribes alone, reports the New York Times. Wang, 52, was the right-hand man of now disgraced former Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai, whose wife, Gu Kailai, was handed a suspended death sentence last month for the murder of family associate and British businessman Neil Heywood.
Bo hasn't been seen in public for several months. Wang's trial indicated the next court target will likely be Bo, reports Reuters. The murder scandal, the biggest to hit Chinese politics in years, was blown open by Wang, who told US diplomats when he attempted to defect at the Chengdu consulate that Gu had poisoned Heywood late last year. The US refused to grant Wang asylum and turned him over to Beijing authorities. Bo was bounced from the Chongqing top post and from the Politburo a short time later.