Former official arrested over property ownership

Updated: 2013-01-14 15:01


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ZHENGZHOU - A former housing administration official in Central China's Henan province who was found owning 31 houses by an online whistle-blower has been arrested, local authorities announced on Monday.

The procuratorate of Zhengzhou city, capital of Henan, on Sunday evening approved the arrest of Zhai Zhenfeng, the former director of the housing administration bureau in the city's Erqi district, on suspicion of crimes by taking advantages of duty, said sources with the Zhengzhou municipal government.

Zhai was placed on file for investigation by the procuratorate on January 4 and then was detained by police two days later.

Zhai's family were found to own 24 houses, though they had at one point owned 31 houses before selling seven of them, according to the taskforce responsible for the investigation of the case.

The taskforce also found that Zhai practiced fraud to get the permit to have a second child in April 1990.

Zhai's case was exposed after a whistle-blower used his microblog account on December 26 to accuse Zhai of engaging in corruption for personal gain.

The microblog also said Zhai's daughter owns 11 affordable houses and two residence permits though individuals are only allowed one residence permit in China, but the taskforce said investigation showed that none of Zhai's 24 houses are classed as affordable.

The local public security department found that both Zhai and his immediate family including his wife, son and daughter have two residence permits each, according to earlier reports.

The online whistle-blower further claimed that Zhai has other properties in Beijing and Shanghai, but the taskforce has not found any evidence for that so far.

Another two members of staff at the housing administration bureau who were found to have taken advantage of their positions to sell affordable houses and illegally profit are also under legal investigation, said the taskforce.

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