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February 18, 2013

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Authorities investigate official's 'large villa'

SHANGHAI authorities are investigating a local official after he was reported to have a large villa, a property usually be out of the financial reach of such an individual.

An Internet post claimed that Lu Ming, deputy head of the Pudong New Area government, owned a large house on 2,000 square meters of land in Chongming County.

The post that sparked the investigation, by Gu Qianjue, included a picture of the house and descriptions of the property.

Gu said the local planning and land authority had ignored local residents' requests to disclose construction details.

An initial investigation showed the main building of Lu's residence had a floor area of 247 square meters with a 63 square meter affiliated one-story house, said officials from the Shanghai Office for Correcting Illegitimate Practices of All Trades.

It announced on its microblog that the walls surrounding the house and land had been dismantled and its investigation was continuing.

Lu, 55, was previously deputy director of Chongming County and of the former Nanhui District before he was appointed deputy director in Pudong.

Several officials have been targeted in property scandals by whistleblowers since China's leaders last year vowed to continue fighting corruption.

Shanghai discipline inspection authorities received 25,972 whistleblowers' reports last year and investigated 780 cases. A total of 704 officials were punished for discipline violations, and 73 people were transferred to prosecutors.


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