China police chief 'who owns hundreds of houses' sacked

BEIJING (AFP) - A Chinese police chief has been sacked after reports he owned hundreds of houses and a false identity card, state media said on Wednesday in the latest scandal to fuel public outrage over corruption.

Zhao Haibin was stripped of his public offices for "engaging in business deals using a fake identity card", the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Lufeng city government in the southern province of Guangdong.

Authorities had decided to carry out a comprehensive investigation into "the problems the media has exposed", it said.

Zhao, a senior police officer and local Communist Party official, made headlines on Tuesday in media reports saying that a businessman accused him of having amassed 192 houses in Huizhou, with others in Shenzhen and Zhuhai.

The case is the latest of a series 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 to have 41 properties in Beijing, including several in one of the capital's most expensive developments, and more in other cities.

State media said she used four different residence permits and three identity cards, and was detained by police on Monday on suspicion of "forging official documents and stamps".

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.

"The grandmaster of properties is finally unveiled in Lufeng. Zhao Haibin... is unprecedented but he definitely will not be unbeatable in the future," said a post on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblog.

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