The former general manager of a state-owned company went on trial in Shanghai yesterday on charges of embezzling more than 16 million yuan to pay off gambling debts in Macau. Hu Jianping, 43, previously manager of the Shanghai branch of China National Light Industry (Group) Corp, amassed the debt in more than 30 trips to Hong Kong and Macau since 2004, the Oriental Morning Post said. An official at Shanghai's No2 Intermediate People's Court confirmed the start of Hu's trial yesterday. Investigation started in March after prosecutors in Shanghai's Huangpu district received a letter accusing Hu of embezzlement. They found that money had been transferred to private companies with no known business relationship with Hu's firm. A man surnamed Lin, who had gambled with Hu in Macau, alleged Hu had transferred 2.2 million yuan from his company to a plastics firm in Suzhou to pay off a debt. Prosecutors said a relative of a Macau casino executive owned the Suzhou company. The Shanghai branch of China National Light Industry has been forced to close. Hu graduated from Shanghai Light Industry School in 1983 and was appointed general manager of the Shanghai branch in 2001.