Shenzhen's former Customs chief went on trial yesterday on corruption charges related to a smuggling scandal that cost the state 2.7 billion yuan (HK$2.5 billion) in lost duty. Zhao Yucun and his family allegedly received more than nine million yuan in bribes from the head of Shenzhen Huiwei Industrial and Trade Company, which is said to have smuggled 760,000 tonnes of cooking oil and other goods into Shenzhen from 1996 to 1999. Zhao's co-defendants in Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court were his two daughters, Zhao Ying and Zhao Ping, the Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News reported. The court did not hand down verdicts yesterday. The case, said to be the largest involving a Shenzhen-registered company, was jointly investigated by the commission, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the General Administration of Customs. The Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday that Zhao took advantage of his position to set up a bonded warehouse in Huizhou port, Guangdong, in 1996, which Yang Gaiqing, general manager of Huiwei, used to smuggle goods from Hong Kong. The amount of smuggled goods was said to be so huge that had Yang imported them through proper channels, 2.7 billion yuan in duties would have been paid. And for three years from 1995, Zhao helped Yang buy 13,000 tonnes of raw sugar and as many as 136 vehicles at auctions held by Shenzhen Customs to sell confiscated smuggled goods. Yang was said to have given Zhou 100,000 yuan (HK$93,700), HK$100,000 and US$100,000 (HK$778,000) in cash and a Rolex watch valued at 68,000 yuan. He also gave Zhao's wife and daughter Zhao Ying - who was his employee - a property in Hong Kong valued at three million yuan and a Mercedes Benz, in addition to offering more than three million yuan in cash. In total, Zhao and his family received cash and gifts valued at 9.17 million yuan, investigators said. Xinhua has said Yang had been arrested. Defending himself in court yesterday, Zhao said he was unable to refuse the watch and 'had no choice' but to keep the foreign currency after efforts to return it failed. He said he did not know Yang gave the car and Hong Kong flat to family members. He said another house, worth more than one million yuan, had been given to his daughter, but believed it belonged to Huiwei. Zhao has been stripped of Communist Party membership and sacked. He could face the death penalty. The case has implicated 13 officials from Huizhou Customs and its inspection department, with four jailed from one to six years and the rest facing trial for dereliction of duty and receiving bribes, the Guangzhou Daily has reported.