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Retired official arrested in home purchase scam

A RETIRED official in neighboring Zhejiang Province has been arrested for negligence and misconduct in a housing purchase scandal that may involve dozens of officials.

The Wenzhou People's Procuratorate arrested Wu Quanshu, 62, for allegedly selling apartments reserved for relocated residents to government employees and people with close ties to him at low prices, Xinhua news agency reported.

Wu, a former deputy director of the Old House Renovation Headquarters in Wenzhou, reportedly sold 143 apartments to government officials and others at an average price of 8,000 yuan (US$1,171) per square meter between 2004 and 2005. The market price was reportedly 11,549 yuan.

The allegations came after an online post in April claimed that 49 staff from the renovation headquarters, including Wu, and 94 others from "related government departments" had bought 143 apartments at below market price.

Ninety-two buyers have been asked to cover the price difference, the report said.


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