A court in Xiamen recouped more than 50 million yuan (HK$47 million) from the first sale of the assets of alleged smuggling kingpin Lai Changxing, who is fighting extradition from Canada. An official at the Xiamen International Auction Centre said it sold at auction on Wednesday 10.74 million shares owned by Lai in the Xiamen Auto Industry Company for 53.5 million yuan. They amount to 7.9 per cent of the firm's capital, making the owner the fourth biggest shareholder. Lai bought 10.61 million shares in 1997 through his Xiamen Yuan Hua Group and the next year increased his stake to 13.01 million shares, giving him nearly 13 per cent of the firm. He later reduced his stake. The auction official said that, despite advertisements in national and local newspapers, only two buyers, both local companies, made bids at the auction. The opening price was 34 million yuan, which rose within 10 minutes to the final price. 'Having just two bidders is normal. I cannot tell you the identity of the buyer. The money from the sale goes to the Xiamen court,' she said. The auction marked the start of sales of the assets of Lai and his company to repay debts and taxes. The next step will be an auction in Xiamen on July 18 of the Yuanhua International Building, with a floor area of 75,800 square metres, in the centre of the city. Beijing accuses Lai and the Yuan Hua group of smuggling HK$25 billion worth of luxury goods, cars, oil, petrochemicals, electronics, steel, construction materials and other items into China in the mid-1990s. It has put more than 300 suspects involved with Lai on trial and sentenced 14 to death.