China police chief accused of having 192 houses

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese police chief is alleged to have had at least 192 houses and a fake identity card, state media said on Tuesday, the latest in a number of similar cases that have sparked outrage online.

Mr Zhao Haibin, a senior police official in Lufeng in the southern province of Guangdong, was reported by a businessman to have accumulated the properties under his name and his company's, the Guangzhou Daily said.

The businessman, Huang Kunyi - who was involved in a dispute with the officer - also said Mr Zhao used a fake identity card to record a different name on company documents, the newspaper reported.

Authorities cancelled the false card after Mr Huang's report in 2011, it added.

An official of the Communist Party's discipline department for Lufeng told AFP Tuesday that Mr Zhao - who is also the vice party secretary of a local county - had been investigated but the inquiry was over and he retained his public offices.

According to the newspaper, Mr Zhao said the properties were owned by his younger brother, a businessman, and that he was only "managing" them for him.

A separate report said Mr Zhao or the company had 192 properties in the city of Huizhou, also in Guangdong, and others in the cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai.

The case is the latest of a series of reports involving officials owning multiple houses with different identity cards and residence permits.

Gong Aiai, a vice president of a bank in the northern province of Shaanxi and a delegate to the local legislature, was reported last month to hold more than 20 houses worth nearly one billion yuan (S$198 million), using four different residence permits and three identity cards.

She was detained by police on Monday on suspicion of "forging official documents and stamps", the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The cases have sparked mounting criticism in Chinese social media over rampant graft and high home prices that are running out of reach of the average citizen.

"(I) finally realised that in China, properties are forever in the hands of a tiny number of people," said a user of China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

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