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East China transport chief sentenced to life imprisonment for taking bribes
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18:38, July 11, 2007

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The former transport chief of east China''s Zhejiang Province has been sentenced to life imprisonment for taking bribes, Huzhou Intermediate People''s Court announced on Wednesday.

Zhao Zhanqi, 58, had received 6.2 million yuan (816,000 U.S. dollars) in bribes from 1994 to 2006, when he held the posts of vice director of the provincial development and planning commission, deputy head of the Xiaoshan airport construction headquarters and head of the provincial communications department, the court heard.

Zhao was arrested in September last year and went to trial in April on charges of taking bribes, usually under the guise of "consultation fees" and "business loans" often paid through his girlfriend or his son, and using his authority to influence project tenders and contracts.

In 1997, Zhao took 550,000 yuan (72,300 U.S. dollars) through his mistress Wang Peiying from the Longyuan Construction Group Co. Ltd, and helped the company beat 70 other bidders for the contract to build the airport terminal.

In return for bribes, he helped other firms seal construction contracts on luggage handling facilities and a filling station at the airport.

In 2005, he helped the Hangzhou Guoyi Expressway and Bridge Construction Co., Ltd win an eight-billion-yuan contract on the highway circling the Hangzhou city. He had hinted to Yu Guoxiang, manager of the company, that he needed money for his son''s wedding. Yu "loaned" three million yuan to Zhao, and the money was never returned.

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