The phrase “house sister” will sound odd to most. But in China, it has also become synonymous with government corruption after a group of officials including police officers were detained Tuesday after they were exposed to have illegally accumulated properties worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
At the centre of the latest scandal is Gong Aiai – the “house sister” – the former deputy head of the Shenmu County Rural Commercial Bank in Yulin City. She was detained on Monday for forging official documents and government stamps that are mandatory to buy property.
A spokesman with the Shenmu County Government said she was in police custody in Yulin city, state-run Xinhua reported.
With real estate prices high in cities like Beijing, the exposure triggered angry reactions online.
In another case related to property, a senior policeman in the southern Chinese city of Lufeng is alleged to have bought 192 houses with fake identity papers.
Zhao Haibin may no longer be the police chief, but he is still a senior figure in the local office of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Xinhua reported that Zhan admitted having another ID, but says he only managed flats owned by his brother.
In the “house sister” case, Gong was confirmed to have four hukou, a household registration record which should be unique for each Chinese citizen. Xinhua reported that the three fake ones, two in Shaanxi Province and the other in Beijing, have been revoked.
Online whistleblowers revealed that Gong had accumulated more than 20 properties worth an estimated 1 billion Yuan ($159 million) in Beijing using fake IDs naming her as Gong Aiai and Gong Xianxia.
So far, at least seven people, including four police officers, have been detained for helping forge hukou for Gong.
This “goes to show how state resources and public trust and authority have been excessively abused by those people,” Yang Fengchun, a professor of government and management at Peking University told Associated Press.
“They behave as if the country were at their beck and call. Whatever they want, they get.”