Po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing seven peo­ple ac­cused of rig­ging Xi’an apart­ment lot­tery

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - 4 China - By JIANG CHENGLONG jiangchen­g­long@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Seven peo­ple ac­cused of rig­ging a lot­tery to help buy­ers with gov­ern­ment con­nec­tions land apart­ments in a new res­i­den­tial com­plex in Xi’an, cap­i­tal of Shaanxi prov­ince, have been placed un­der crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The sus­pects work at ei­ther Xi’an Tian­lei Prop­erty Co, which is build­ing the project, or the tech­nol­ogy com­pany in Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince, re­spon­si­ble for run­ning the lot­tery sys­tem, the city gov­ern­ment said on Satur­day.

They al­legedly ma­nip­u­lated the com­put­er­ized sys­tem to en­sure cer­tain peo­ple won apart­ments, ac­cord­ing to the re­sults of an of­fi­cial probe launched af­ter a screen­shot of a con­fi­den­tial spread­sheet list­ing the “back­door clients” went vi­ral on­line.

The spread­sheet in­cluded the names, phone num­bers and ID card num­bers of over 60 clients as well as their pre­ferred units and their re­la­tion­ship with the lo­cal hous­ing, plan­ning, con­struc­tion or land and re­sources bu­reaus.

In ad­di­tion to the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the em­ploy­ees, the city gov­ern­ment said 35 gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees had been pun­ished in re­la­tion to the scan­dal, in­clud­ing eight who were “re­moved from their posts”, six re­as­signed and five given warn­ings.

Tian­lei Prop­erty has also been placed on China’s so­cial credit black­list — af­fect­ing its ac­cess to gov­ern­ment fund­ing, bank loans and tax breaks — and or­dered to rec­tify its prac­tices.

Xi’an’s hous­ing man­age­ment bureau is­sued a reg­u­la­tion on March 30 that said com­mer­cial res­i­den­tial build­ings should be sold via lot­tery when the num­ber of peo­ple reg­is­ter­ing an in­ter­est in buy­ing an apart­ment ex­ceeded the num­ber of homes on of­fer.

Tian­lei’s devel­op­ment, called Chang’an Res­i­dence One, is

Shaanxi Broad­cast­ing Corp re­ported on May 25 that the de­vel­oper sold 724 homes through the lot­tery draw on April 29. Some 3,439 po­ten­tial buy­ers reg­is­tered for the draw.

How­ever, sus­pi­cions were raised among ne­ti­zens that the lot­tery was rigged on May 24 when the screen­shot of the spread­sheet be­gan to cir­cu­late on so­cial me­dia.

On May 25, the dis­trict’s pub­lic­ity de­part­ment said on Sina Weibo that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter had be­gun. Mean­while, Xi’an’s hous­ing man­age­ment bureau said it had launched a cam­paign to fight il­le­gal be­hav­ior in the sale of com­mer­cial res­i­den­tial build­ings, in­clud­ing rigged lot­ter­ies.

The of­fi­cial state­ment said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion found there were il­le­gal sales be­hav­iors in the Tian­lei hous­ing project. Some 106 apart­ments had been al­lo­cated il­le­gally, it said. These homes will now be resold through a se­cond lot­tery, which the orig­i­nal “win­ners” will be barred from en­ter­ing.

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