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China says former senior police chief suspected of murder

[BEIJING] China's anti-graft watchdog accused the former police chief of the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia of suspected murder on Friday, saying he would be prosecuted for crimes that include bribery and illegal possession of firearms.

Zhao Liping was in charge of the police in Inner Mongolia from 2005 until 2010 and had worked for almost three decades as a police officer. He was detained on suspicion of the murder of a woman in March.

The ruling Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said that Zhao took bribes, illegally owned firearms and was an adulterer.

Party members are supposed to be upholders of public morality and are banned from having extra-marital affairs.

"Apart from this, a police investigation found that Zhao Liping is suspected of murder," the commission said.

President Xi Jinping has vowed to root out corruption in the party since taking over as its chief in 2012, and as head of state in 2013, warning its survival is at risk if it does not address the problem seriously.

The commission said in a statement Zhao had been expelled from the party, his illicit gains were seized, and he would be handed over to legal authorities, meaning he will be prosecuted.

It did not provide details. It was not possible to reach Zhao for comment and not clear if he has a lawyer.

Inner Mongolia, which covers more than a 10th of China's land mass and has the country's largest coal reserves, is a strategically located northern part of the country on the borders of Russia and Mongolia.

It was rocked by protests in 2011 after an ethnic Mongol herder was killed by a truck after taking part in protests against pollution caused by a coal mine, and there has been periodic unrest since then.

In separate statements, the watchdog said the former party boss of the major eastern city of Nanjing, Yang Weize, and a deputy party head in the southwestern province of Yunnan, Qiu He, had both been indicted for suspected corruption and expelled from the party.

The state prosecutor said both had been placed "under coercive measures", a euphemism for arrested.

It was not possible to reach either of them for comment.

REUTERS