Seven former officers with Shatoujiao Customs were given jail terms ranging from 13 years to 16 months for taking bribes from smugglers, according to a verdict by Yantian District People’s Court on Wednesday.
Zheng Xiaowu, former head of the border-crossing vehicle inspection department of Shatoujiao Customs, was sentenced to 13 years in jail and had bribes of 200,000 yuan (US$31,250) confiscated. The court also found he bribed his superiors to help facilitate smuggling.
The six other officers Chen Jinquan, Lu Chaoying, Sha Man, Chen Guorong, Chen Jianji and Feng Zhihong were jailed for from four years to 16 months for taking bribes from smugglers who crossed the border in vehicles between September 2012 and January 2014.
According to the court, Zheng, the department head, divided the officers into three teams, assigned the license plate numbers of the vehicles that were carrying smuggled goods to each officer. He also designated an officer to contact the smugglers to ask for money.
Each vehicle was charged between 1,200 and 1,500 yuan (US$190-238) for each crossing. Each officer was given 300 yuan to 500 yuan for each smuggler they green-lighted. The money was distributed among them at the end of each month.
They had received 531,900 yuan in bribes when they were caught. On Jan. 1, 2014, prosecutors found 421,600 yuan when searching Zheng’s office, Sha’s handbag, and the wardrobes of Chen Jianji and Chen Guorong.
Between September 2012 and January 2014, Zheng took 140,000 yuan from four smugglers who hid large amounts of smuggled household products in their trucks while crossing the border at Shatoujiao Checkpoint. The products would later be sold in Shenzhen for a profit.
Zheng also paid 210,000 yuan in bribes to Wu Wenkui, head of Shatoujiao Customs, and 130,000 yuan to Chen Ruiquan, deputy Party chief of the customs, who in turn promoted Zheng as department chief.
Zheng claimed he would appeal the ruling, while others pleaded guilty. The smuggling took place on Zhongying Street, which is governed by Shenzhen on one side and Hong Kong on the other. Inbound travelers are not allowed to carry household products worth more than 3,000 yuan across the border each time.