Photo: Feng Li / Getty
French architect Patrick Henri Devillers has been arrested in Cambodia, according to Reuters reports.Devillers gained headlines earlier this year over his links to the scandal surrounding ousted Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai. He was was initially seen as an elusive figure in the case, having left China in 2000, but his location in Pnohm Penh became widely known after a New York Times article from May.
The 52-year-old had come to enter Bo’s circle in the 1990s after marrying into a prominent family in China, and later helped the Chinese princeling remodel the city of Dalian when he was mayor. He often worked alongside Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, and the murdered British businesswomen Neil Heywood.
Exactly the nature of the relationship between the Gu, Heywood and Devillers is unclear. There have been multiple rumours that Gu and Heywood were lovers, and she is personally suspected of being behind his death.
However, in an interview with Reuters from May, UK businessman Giles Hall said that he had assumed Gu and Devillers were in fact the lovers in the group when he dealt with the three: “Devillers was the one who used to pat her on the back and put his arm around her in a restaurant. They were definitely, I would have said, an item.”
An apartment in Bournemouth, UK, which was described memorably as a “love nest” for Heywood and Gu by the Daily Mail, was also — curiously — listed as Deviller’s UK address.
The exact reason behind the arrest in Cambodia is unclear at the moment. “There was an arrest of this French man in relation to a crime in China,” Phnom Penh’s police chief, Touch Narouth, told Reuters.
Given that Heywood is rumoured to have been killed because of his knowledge of an international money transfer, we think we have an idea why Chinese authorities may want to talk to Devillers.
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