Police seize property of 'house sister' in Beijing

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Ten properties and a car owned by "house sister", a woman alleged to have illegally amassed real estate using multiple identities, were seized by police authorities in Beijing Thursday.

An investigation found that Gong Ai'ai, former vice president of the Shenmu county rural commercial bank in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, owns 41 houses as well as office and commercial properties in Beijing. The properties have a total floor area of 9,666.6 square meters, the city's public security bureau said.

Gong bought 10 properties with a total area of 1,945 square meters and an Audi car with her illegally-registered "hukou" in Beijing. City police have seized them.

Chinese netizens dubbed Gong "house sister" after an online microblogger exposed that she owns 20 homes worth about 1 billion yuan (159 million U.S. dollars), some of which were purchased using her fake identities.

Gong first registered as a resident in the town of Shenmu in Shaanxi. She later registered three identities respectively in two counties in the neighboring Shanxi Province and Beijing between 2004 and 2008, a police investigation uncovered.

The hukou is a Chinese permanent residence registration and personal identification system governed by public security departments. In China, one individual has one legitimate identity and hukou record.

Seven people, including four police officers, have been detained after being implicated in the scandal of the "house sister", the Ministry of Public Security said Wednesday.

China's property market controls restrict individuals buying multiple homes, but "ghost" identities can help the holders evade restrictions.

Multiple identities also raise public concern of possible corruption, such as unfair distribution of government-subsidized affordable housing and officials' evasion of personal property supervision.

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