Tue, Apr 24, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Beijing probing Hong Kong ties of Bo’s family

AFP, HONG KONG

The Chinese government has sent a team to Hong Kong to investigate the business interests of suspended politburo member Bo Xilai (薄熙來) and his family, a report said yesterday.

Bo was sacked from his post as Chinese Communist Party boss of Chongqing last month, and subsequently suspended from the party’s politburo for “serious discipline violations” — code in China for graft.

His wife, Gu Kailai (谷開來), has been placed under investigation for the suspected murder of a British businessman — a scandal that came to light when Bo’s right-hand man fled to a US consulate and reportedly asked for asylum.

Analysts have said the scandal is the most serious crisis for the Communist leadership since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

“The working group which has been investigating issues relating to Bo ... has already arrived in Hong Kong,” the South China Morning Post quoted an unnamed source as saying.

The team will look into the “alleged huge amount of assets held by the family in Hong Kong” as well as their relations with Chinese security chief Zhou Yongkang (周永康), the source said.

China’s liaison office in Hong Kong refused to comment on the report, while an official with the local mainland affairs ministry said the territory’s government was “not in a position to comment.”

Bo’s elder brother, Bo Xiyong (薄熙永), is believed to be a top director of Hong Kong-listed China Everbright International under the assumed name of Li Xueming (李學明), the Post reported.

Gu’s eldest sister, Gu Wangjiang (谷望江), has held numerous board positions in Hong Kong.

A commentary by Xinhua news agency last week said the death of Briton Neil Heywood in Chongqing in November last year was “a serious criminal case involving the kin and aides of a party and state leader.” It appeared to suggest officials would make examples of those involved in the scandal to counter what it described as “slackened spirit, incompetence ... inactivity and corruption.”

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