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XIAMEN, Fujian - Lai Changxing, the alleged kingpin of a notorious smuggling ring, went on trial Friday for smuggling and bribery at the Intermediate People's Court of Xiamen.
The charges against Lai were lodged in February by the People's Procuratorate of Xiamen.
Before today's trial, the intermediate court sent the indictment to Lai, also notifying his lawyer to meet with Lai and get access to all files relating to the case.
According to a court statement released Friday, all the litigation rights of Lai and his lawyer have been fully safeguarded.
Representatives for the prosecution and defense participated in the trial. Many citizens, officials and lawmakers, as well as some of Lai's family and friends, also attended the proceedings.
Lai, 53, the chief suspect in smuggling operations that dated back to the 1990s in Xiamen, a coastal city in southeast Fujian Province, fled to Canada about 13 years ago.
After he was repatriated to China on July 23, 2011, he was arrested and investigated for smuggling and bribery.
According to a previous statement released in December 2011 from the local customs' anti-smuggling agency and the Xiamen prosecutor's office, investigation showed that the Lai smuggling ring had smuggled a huge number of commodities, including cigarettes, cars, petroleum, cooking oil, chemicals and equipment, through Xiamen Customs from 1996 to 1999.
He bribed dozens of government officials and ordered his subordinates to do the same, which involved a significant amount of money, the statement said.