The former head of Hangzhou Customs in Zhejiang province has been given a two-year suspended death sentence for taking bribes amounting to 1.8 million yuan (HK$1.69 million). Geng Yongxiang, 53, was convicted of accepting bribes on 44 occasions between 1992 and 1999. During that period he was the head of Customs in Suzhou City, Jiangsu province, and later the head of Hangzhou Customs, Xinhua reported yesterday. Xinhua said Geng had accepted bribes in return for covering up smuggling activities in the Zhoushan area of Zhejiang, awarding interior renovation contracts for government buildings, and giving out government jobs. Hangzhou Intermediate Court billed the case as 'particularly serious', but it spared Geng the death penalty as he has returned all the bribes he accepted and expressed regret for his actions. Customs is one of the departments most prone to corruption. Many senior officials in coastal cities, including the heads of Xiamen, Zhangjiang and Shenzhen have reportedly been removed or sentenced for corruption in the past few months. Meanwhile, former deputy director of Sichuan Transport Bureau, Zheng Daofang, was formally charged with corruption by Sichuan People's Court, the semi-official China News Agency reported yesterday. It said Zheng had accepted bribes while he was in charge of highway construction in the province. His wife Gao Jialan and son Zheng Qin were also involved in demanding kickbacks from highway contractors and suppliers of highway facilities. The case was exposed when the authorities received complaints against Zheng, the agency said, adding the authorities were alerted by the seriousness of the case. While the report did not confirm the total amount of bribes involved, it was stated earlier that Zheng had received at least 2.9 million yuan. Zheng's supervisor, Liu Zhongshan, was removed from the Transport Bureau while retaining his post in a company under the bureau, Sichuan officials said.