Nanshan Lijing charges $1000 a night. It is a place where rooms boast marble floors and chandeliers; where interiors are an eccentric mix of Chinese and European furniture; where Gu Kailai, wife of Bo Xilai, held secret meetings and struck multi-million yuan deals with shady generals and corrupt Chinese Communist party officials; where lavish dinner and entertainment parties were held.
Richard Cao, chairman of the British Chambers of Commerce in China, said: “It was at the Nanshan Hotel that a deputy police chief tried to gatecrash a private dinner party Gu was holding. He arrived drunk and got upset because Gu’s bodyguards would not allow him to the restaurant. Despite his rank, she had him sacked.”
In another incident, a group of off-duty police officers were having a noisy dinner at the Nanshan Hotel’s restaurant. They ignored Gu’s request to be quiet. Furious, she summoned police chief, Wang Lijun. Minutes later, Wang arrived and stormed into the restaurant brandishing his pistol and threatened the rowdy diners. All of them were sacked.
Wang, 52, is an ethnic Mongolian. His father was a railway worker and his mother a textile worker. He boxed as a teen, served in the People’s Liberation Army for three years and worked as a forestry official before joining the police in 1984.
His crackdown on crime in the northeast town of Tieling won him national acclaim. Zhou Lijun, a screenwriter, spent 10 days with Wang in Tieling in 1996 and worked on a screenplay for a TV series about his exploits called ‘Iron Blooded Police Spirits’.
Bo brought Wang to lead a crackdown on organized crime in Chongqing after he became the city’s Communist Party chief in 2007. The two men became very close.
Wang had a flair for drama. He would drive to crime scenes in a Mitsubishi jeep modified to carry a double rack of lights on its roof so the locals would know ‘Chief Wang’ was on the case. He would leap atop the car, draw his gun and fire shots in the air after arriving on the scene.
On a night raid of hair salons thought to be fronts for prostitution, Wang rushed into one and threw a young man with dyed yellow hair to the ground. After a police search for evidence yielded nothing, he told them to take the youth to the police station, saying: “A man with hair like that can’t be any good.”
Wang’s dragnet led to the city’s former justice chief and deputy police chief, Wen Qiang, who was found to have buried $3 million under a fish pond. He allegedly protected gangs, accepted bribes, committed rapes, was involved in property scams. Qiang was executed during a crackdown in 2010. Wang also jailed dozens of policemen and defence lawyers in the name of cracking down on organised crime.
As Wang’s crime crackdown grew, the campaign created enemies in the rank and file, as well as in leadership circles. He wore a bullet-proof vest after gangs put out a hit order on him.
In 2011, central government’s anti-graft investigators began looking into accusations that Wang accepted bribe and promoted a subordinate when he was police chief of Tieling from 2000 to 2003. Wang became anxious and sought help.
Wang was extensively involved in bugging and surveillance using sophisticated equipment acquired as part of Chongqing’s campaign against organised crime, and also used those capabilities to monitor Bo and those around him.
In last August when Hu Jintao, China’s top leader, picked up the telephone to talk to a senior anticorruption official visiting Chongqing, special devices detected that he was being wiretapped by local officials in Chongqing. The higher echelon saw it as a direct challenge to the central authorities and their watchful eye turned harder on Bo, Wang and Chongqing since then.
Wang said he was thunder struck when Gu shouted “I did it” thrice, in an emotional state. He told the American diplomats that she confessed to him of being present in the hotel room during the ‘gruesome’ poisoning. Heywood was held down and forced to drink the cyanide. He spat the cyanide out and they had to give him more.
It is alleged that Bo couple was involved in a series of murders and earned nearly $160 million in bribes and also transferred over $1.62 billion overseas through Heywood.