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China: Around The Nation

Property agents pose as teachers to sell houses illegally built on China school campus

Developer only had permission to build school, according to newspaper report

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2017, 3:36pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2017, 4:08pm

A property company given permission to build a school in northern China has converted part of the campus into houses and flats to turn a profit, according to a newspaper report.

The developer of the Huaxia Foreign Languages Elementary School in Taikang in Henan province is selling 20 three-storey homes, plus flats in four apartment complexes, the Orient Today reported.

The newspaper, which sent an undercover reporter to investigate the project, said people posing as teachers in the admissions office were in fact property firm sales staff.

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The signs for the sales department and admissions office were taped to the wall of the building, almost side by side, according to the article.

A salesman told the newspaper all the houses were sold and most of the apartments.

The report said the company first managed to get a lease on the land in 2005 at the discounted price of 15,000 yuan (US$2,180) per hectare as the plot was set aside for educational use.

The company was fined over 224,000 yuan in 2010 as it used less than a quarter of the land to build a school, with the majority of the plot used for other business ventures.

The company later switched tactics and built houses within the campus to try to get around the regulations, the report said.

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The local housing department was quoted in a statement as saying that it raided the construction site last August, but the operation was blocked by teachers and pupils on campus. The authority said teachers had told pupils to throw rocks and bricks at law enforcement officers and vehicles.