The sons of two disgraced senior officials and a retired provincial leader took advantage of their fathers' power to expand their business empire, mainland media reported yesterday. Zhou Jing, the son of disgraced former Hebei party chief Zhou Benshun, had close business connections to Hu Xiongjie, the son of a former leader of Hunan's political advisory body, The Beijing News and Shanghai-based online news outlet The Paper reported. The junior Zhou was also a business associate of Zhao Jin, the tycoon son of powerful retired Jiangsu cadre Zhao Shaolin , the reports said. Both Zhous, both Zhaos and the junior Hu have been taken away for investigation. The junior Zhou, 35, befriended the junior Hu in 1999, after Zhou's father, then party chief of Shaoyang city, Hunan, met Hu's father, then party leader of the province, said The Beijing News . The junior Hu, about 10 years older than Zhou, had already made a name for himself in Changsha circles. In 2000, the senior Zhou was promoted to provincial police chief. A year later, Hu started his business ventures in real estate development. The young Hu and Zhou kept their identities unknown as they earned commissions by helping developers to obtain land, the report said. The pair secured a piece of land along the Xiang River for a real estate company in 2003. A businessman with knowledge of the matter said it was the first time he had seen the offspring of provincial leaders directly come forward to acquire a piece of treasured land. "It was clear that their fathers' power was huge," said the businessman. In 2003, the senior Zhou was promoted to deputy secretary general of the powerful Central Politics and Law Commission in Beijing, where he served as a top aide of disgraced former security tsar Zhou Yongkang . As his father rose through the ranks, Zhou Jing's business ventures with Hu expanded rapidly. In addition to real estate, their businesses included a high-end liquor brand, several luxury car outlets and a pawn business. Zhou Jing's connections extended to the east coast, where he had a partnership with Zhao Jin in Nanjing from 2007. The pair secured at least three real estate development projects and a government construction project in Changsha. Zhou also helped Zhao secure a piece of land in Nanjing, sources said. In July 2014, Zhao was detained; three months later, his father was taken away by graft investigators. The senior Zhao had joined his son in paying bribes, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said. He was expelled from the Communist Party last week. The senior Zhou came under investigation for graft in late July when he was Hebei's party chief. On the day the investigation into Zhou senior launched, the junior Zhou and the junior Hu were taken away by police in Hunan.