Corruption in China

Two village officials investigated over links to 11 properties worth 100m yuan

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 January, 2013, 4:04am

Two village officials from a Zhongshan township have been placed under investigation after they were exposed for owning more than 11 properties valued at more than 100 million yuan (HK$123.5 million), according to mainland media reports.

Authorities said Huang Xinze, party boss of Lianfeng village in Zhongshan's Xiaolan township, and Huo Chengtang, deputy director of the village's residential committee, admitted to owning or co-owning the properties in the city's three townships, The Southern Metropolis Daily said yesterday.

The accusations came to light after internet sleuths this month found at least eight properties listed under the officials' names. The two co-own three tracts of land, for housing or industrial use, totalling 26,229 square metres, and Huang's wife owns an additional 14,600 square metres of industrial land.

Huo was also found to own at least three houses, a total of 475 square metres in Xiaolan, and a 590-square-metre industrial plot in Dongsheng township.

Huo told the paper that all of the properties were purchased with legitimate income before he worked as a village official, but Xinhua reported that most of the properties had been bought after the two were appointed.

Huang has been the village's party official for more than 19 years, while Huo has been in his position for 15 years.

Xinhua also reported that the two said they bought their properties with money from their own businesses and real estate investments, and they claimed to have operated a dozen factories, but refused to give more details.

In November, a village party boss in Shenzhen was placed under investigation for allegedly owning more than 80 properties and 20 cars, all valued at more than 2 billion yuan.

Upon hearing the revelation, furious villagers claimed the assets purportedly belonging to Zhou Weisi could not have been bought on his official income alone.

Zhou denied owning most of the properties and called the incident a personal attack against him by villagers involved in disputes with real estate developers, The Southern Metropolis Daily reported. He admitted owning just five or six of the properties his accusers said belonged to him.

In October, a political commissar of the urban management bureau in Guangzhou's Panyu district was placed under investigation after internet users found he owned 22 properties valued at more than 35.5 million yuan.