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China sentences former police chief to death for ‘vile, cruel’ murder

China on Friday sentenced to death the former police chief of the northern region of Inner Mongolia after convicting him of murder, bribery, and possession of firearms and explosives, state media reported.

A court in Taiyuan in the northern province of Shanxi ruled that Zhao Liping, 65, was guilty of killing a woman surnamed Li in March last year, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Zhao also took more then 2 million yuan (HK$2.28) in bribes and illegally stored 91 detonators in his office while working as the police chief of Inner Mongolia from 2008 to 2010, Xinhua said.

Zhao first became police chief of the region in 2005 and had worked as a police officer for almost three decades.

Former Chinese police chief accused of shooting his lover dead charged with murder

“The nature of Zhao Liping’s murder was sinful, the plot especially vile, the means especially cruel, the danger to society grave,” the court said.

Zhao had refused to plead guilty and should be severely punished, it added.

He was detained on suspicion of the murder of a woman last year and was formally charged in February 2016.

State media has previously said the victim was Zhao’s mistress, whom he stabbed and shot and then burned her body after she threatened to expose his corrupt behaviour.

China’s anti-corruption watchdog accuses former Inner Mongolia police chief of murder

President Xi Jinping has emphasised the need for officials to be paragons of virtue and to uphold public morality in his drive to restore discipline to the ruling Communist Party.

Since he became party chief in 2012, Xi has waged war on corruption within the party, warning that a failure to root out graft could jeopardise the party’s survival.

Inner Mongolia is a strategically important area bordering Russia and Mongolia, which covers a tenth of China’s landmass and has the largest coal reserves in the country.