Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

HARROVIAN HELD DOWN AND MADE TO DRINK POISON; CYANIDE WAS FORCED INTO BRITON'S MOUTH -- SENSATIONAL NEW CLAIM OVER CHINA MURDER; Bo, the 'Gangster of All Gangsters'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

HARROVIAN HELD DOWN AND MADE TO DRINK POISON; CYANIDE WAS FORCED INTO BRITON'S MOUTH -- SENSATIONAL NEW CLAIM OVER CHINA MURDER; Bo, the 'Gangster of All Gangsters'

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Harper Investigations Reporter

THE British businessman found dead in China was forced to drink poison, according to new claims today.

Neil Heywood was allegedly held down and force-fed cyanide after the Old Harrovian threatened to reveal that senior Communist politician Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai had secreted [pounds sterling]800 million of state assets.

The 41-year-old consultant was found dead in a secluded hill-top hotel last November after being summoned to meet the couple. But the case only recently snowballed into a political scandal for Beijing after the attempted defection to America of a police chief.

Today a new report alleged Mr Heywood was attacked at the hotel in Chongqing. A senior Communist Party official was quoted as saying: "They tried to poison Heywood with a drink, but he spat it out. The two people then forcibly held Heywood down, and poured the poison into his mouth."

It is not clear which two people are alleged to have held him down. At the time, a local coroner ruled he had died from "excessive alcohol". However, questions started to emerge after Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun, tried to defect in February.

In a further twist, it was claimed today that Mr Wang retrieved the item spat out by My Heywood and preserved it as evidence.

"The item Heywood spat out was retrieved and stored by the deputy chief of the Chongqing Public Security Bureau, and that has become a decisive piece of evidence," said the official. "Wang Lijun has been applauded for co-operating in helping to unravel the truth in this incident." The senior police officer recently turned against Mr Bo, who was expected to be promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee, which effectively runs China.

Mr Heywood met Mr Bo and his wife in the Nineties, became a mentor to their son Bo Guagua, and helped him win a place at Harrow School. The businessman is then believed to have helped manage the family's finances as Mr Bo moved to jobs in Beijing then Chongqing. …

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