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Embattled developer is linked to town officials

MINHANG District authorities said they will investigate media reports that several government officials owned the developer of a building that collapsed on Saturday, killing a worker.

Officials with the district's information office said they will look into the Shanghai Meidu Real Estate Co, the developer of the ill-fated structure in the Lotus Riverside community in Meilong Town.

"I've heard the names, but I can't say more about this," a Minhang District official commented when asked yesterday by a local television reporter about links between the officials and the developer.

Que Jingde, Meidu's second biggest shareholder, is the assistant to the director of Meilong Town, according to a report yesterday in Shanghai's Oriental Morning Post.

Que paid 1.2 million yuan (US$175,695) for a 15 percent stake in Meidu in March 2001, according to records at the city industrial and commercial authority. Que and 23 other shareholders then bought Meidu for 16 million yuan during its transformation from a state-owned company to a privately owned firm in 2001. Meidu Real Estate was once owned by Meilong Town's government.

Zhang Jinliang, who now serves as the head of Meilong's Land Requisition Bureau, is also on the shareholders list. So is Que Jianping, who is suspected of being the son of Que Jingde. According to the records, the two have the same home address.

The Oriental Morning Post cited unnamed sources as saying that Zhang Zhiqin, the biggest shareholder with a 64.38 percent stake in Meidu, is a brother of Zhang Zhihua, director of the Meilong Town Police Station.

Zhang Yongcai, vice director of Meilong Town, confirmed that Que used to be in charge of land demolition for the town government but declined further comment when approached by the Shanghai Evening Post yesterday.

Meanwhile, security guards at 966 Xingzhu Road, the registered address of Meidu, said they had no knowledge of the company.

According to previous reports, Meidu acquired the land for Lotus Riverside from the local government for 41 million yuan in 2003, which was only one-third the price of plots bought by other developers in the same area.


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