The former party secretary of Ningbo city was finally put on trial yesterday for allegedly abusing his power and accepting bribes, state media reported. Xu Yunhong was arrested and expelled from the Communist Party in September after he was accused of using his power to help wife Fu Peipei and son Xu Bin pocket a huge sum in bribes. If convicted, Xu Yunhong could face the death penalty. Xinhua said Xu Yunhong - who was put on trial yesterday at Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court - was accused of accepting bribes of some 140,000 yuan (HK$131,600), HK$120,000, US$25,000 (HK$193,250) and a Rolex watch through his son from Wu Biao of Ningbo International Trust and Investment in 1997. In return, Xu Yunhong agreed to turn a blind eye to 'illegal dealings' by the company. The document alleged that because of Xu Yunhong's 'inaction', the state had lost more than 1.1 billion yuan. Wu was convicted earlier this year and has been executed. In addition, Xu Yunhong was also accused of putting pressure on Ningbo Daily newspaper to buy a faulty building from a Hong Kong businessman. The document said that again through his son, Xu Yunhong accepted 1.05 million yuan, a villa worth 850,000 yuan and three Rolex watches. The former party boss, 55, also faces other accusations. He allegedly forced the Bank of China's Ningbo branch to provide loans to several debt-ridden companies in the city which had offered him benefits. The document said the bank had lost more than 25 million yuan and US$5.4 million (HK$41.7 million) as a result. Ningbo - one of the fastest growing cities in Zhejiang province - was plagued by a series of corruption scandals last year. Former vice-mayor Xie Jianbang was jailed for life and received a suspended death sentence for taking bribes worth US$78,300. Alarmed by rampant corruption, mainland courts have started handing down heavy penalties to high-ranking provincial leaders for taking bribes. The most senior official executed so far has been former Jiangxi vice-governor Hu Changqing, who was shot last March for accepting about 5 million yuan in bribes.