Former Chinese top cop sentenced to death for murder of mistress

A Chinese national flag. (Reuters)

A retired Chinese police chief was sentenced to death on Friday for the murder of his mistress and other crimes, amid an ongoing crackdown on official corruption and abuse of power by public officials.

Zhao Liping, 64, fatally shot his 28-year-old mistress, identified only by her surname Li, and then burned her body, according to a statement from the Intermediate People’s Court in the northern city of Taiyuan.

The court didn’t mention a motive for the March 2015 murder, but media reports said Zhao had suspected Li was planning to report him for taking bribes.

Zhao was also convicted of possessing firearms and explosives, both of which are strictly regulated in China.

Zhao presided over police affairs for the sprawling Inner Mongolia region from 2005 to 2012 and was a vice chairman of its ceremonial political advisory body before his retirement.

Zhao used his position in the sparsely populated but resource rich region from 2008 to 2010 to “seek benefits” when promoting people and illegally received 24 million yuan ($3.5 million), the court statement said. Death sentences in China are automatically reviewed by the nation’s highest court.

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