A former transport official of Southwest China's Yunnan Province was sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption yesterday.
Former deputy director of Yunnan provincial transport department Hu Xing had fled to Singapore on a fake passport to evade punishment but was extradited later.
The Intermediate People's Court of Kunming seized all his personal property and stripped him of his political rights, too.
Hu was found guilty of abusing his position to take more than 40 million yuan ($5.3 million) in bribes, including an apartment worth 247,980 yuan ($32,730).
"Hu committed serious economic crimes that included taking huge amounts of bribes, the largest ever in Yunnan, arousing great public concern," court spokesman Cai Shunbin said.
In one case, Hu accepted HK$10 million ($1.28 million) and $5 million yuan ($659,935) in bribes, the local disciplinary watchdog said.
"The amount of bribe is huge... and he fled the country using a fake passport, which was socially disruptive to the extreme," the court said. "He should be punished severely according to law."
The judges took into account Hu's confession of all his crimes during interrogation, most of which the investigators didn't known of, and the fact that he had returned all his illegal earnings, Cai said, suggesting that the sentence was lenient.
Earlier media reports quoted the provincial procuratorate as saying that Hu had also taken advantage of his post to help relatives make money. He allegedly had a mistress and "illegitimate sexual relationships" with other women. These charges, however, were not mentioned in court.
Police have traced more than 300 wanted officials who have fled the country since 1998, Ministry of Public Security spokesman Wu Heping said.
Last year, 37 officials were extradited to China.
Source: China Daily/Xinhua