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The trial secrets of Wang Lijun

Wang Lijun, the once-prominent police chief at the center of a divisive political scandal, pictured here in 2008 Photo: AP

We don't know when the verdict will be announced yet, but you can bet it will be guilty in the trial of Wang Lijun.

He's the former police chief who'd been praised as a crime busting cop who'd cracked down on organised crime in the Chinese city of Chongqing during his so-called 'smash black' campaign.

He was also the right-hand man of Bo Xilai, then the city's Communist Party boss, a charismatic leader rarely off the airwaves of the local TV station as he ruled over 32 million people, often appearing on the media promoting a return to old style leftist values.

Bo hasn't been seen in public since he was dramatically sacked in March.

His fall came after Wang blew the whistle on the murder of a British business adviser, Neil Heywood, who was found dead in a Chongqing hotel in November last year.

Neil Heywood was found dead in a hotel room last year. Credit: Reuters

In early February, Wang had rushed to the US consulate in Chengdu, a few hours drive from Chongqing.

He asked to defect, saying he'd secretly taped Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, confessing to the murder of Mr Heywood, a public school educated business analyst.

Heywood had become a family friend of Bo and his wife. The British corporate strategy expert had lived in China for many years, with his Chinese wife and two children, in an exclusive suburb of Beijing.

The Americans refused to grant asylum; Wang's anti-crime campaign had not been bloodless and there was evidence Bo and his police chief had taken out their business rivals under the cover of 'smash black' police operations.

What we now know is that Wang gave the US diplomats a mobile number, telling them to ring it and set up an email account.

If they did then they'd get the evidence to prove that Gu had killed Neil Heywood.

The Americans passed the number to the British Embassy. The UK Embassy now says:"We made every effort to establish whether additional information existed."

It seems though that the efforts didn't succeed and there was no response from the mysterious number and email address. However, Gu Kailai was convicted of the murder of Neil Heywood last month.

Chinese policemen patrol near the Chengdu Intermediate Court, where Wang Lijun stood for trial in Chengdu Credit: Andy Wong/AP/Press Association Images

Wang's role in the fall of Bo Xilai and the conviction of his wife now seems to be sparing his life.

He's charged with defection and abuse of power involving state secrets - crimes that could get a defendant the death penalty.

Now state media is saying that his cooperation could mitigate his offences.

He had ordered his officers to collect evidence from the murder scene where Neil Heywood was found dead.

He also reported the involvement of Gu Kailai to the Chinese authorities, after he had left the US Consulate without an asylum deal.

Today the Global Times, reported that "Wang had made important contributions to cracking the case, the penalty for the crime...could be lighter".

There's no date for the verdict and sentence as yet.