Taskforce looks into hukou fraud
Updated: 2013-01-24 23:50
By Zhang Yan and Li Yao (Xinhua)
The Ministry of Public Security has set up a special taskforce to supervise the investigation into allegations against Gong Aiai, a former bank executive who is accused of buying property with multiple household registrations.
"We'll clarify the incident as soon as possible, and people who were directly responsible for this shall be investigated and punished according to the law," said Zhang Hongqiang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Security, on Thursday.
"We will also take lessons from this case and further improve the social management mechanism to prevent similar scandals."
Gong, 49, was deputy chief of Shenmu County Rural Commercial Bank in Shaanxi province.
According to the ministry, her hukou, or permanent resident permit, was originally registered in Shenmu county. However, she is accused of registering three more between 2004 and 2008: two in Shanxi's Linxian county and Xingxian county, and another in Beijing's Fangshan district.
Police in Shenmu said they canceled her hukou in Xingxian county on Saturday after receiving a tip-off from the public.
Using four identities, Gong allegedly bought properties in Beijing worth 1 billion yuan ($160 million), two houses covering 400 square meters in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, and two houses covering 600 square meters in Shenmu.
On Jan 18, she admitted to Xinhua News Agency that she had registered one false hukou, claiming she did it for superstitious reasons. She said her properties had been bought with money from her family's coal mining business.
She was dismissed from her position at the bank the next day, and has not appeared in public since.
On Thursday, Beijing police canceled Gong's false hukou and seized all of her assets in Beijing, including properties and cars. Officers have also been sent to Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces to take part in a joint investigation.
"We will suspend and detain any police officer involved in (helping) Gong (to register false hukou)," the Beijing Public Security Bureau said in a statement on Thursday.
As of Thursday, three police officers and a township chief in Shenmu had been suspended, pending further investigations.
Two police officers in Linxian county have also been relieved of their positions because they registered one of Gong's hukou in 2008.
Two other officers in Xingxian county have been suspended because they dealt with similar applications from Gong for another fake hukou in 2008.
Since 2010, authorities have organized and carried out a series of special investigations to seek out and cancel illegal hukou, the ministry said.
Police have investigated and punished 100 police officers involved in helping people obtain illegal hukou.
"If we find police officers illegally handling fake hukou, we will dismiss them, and if they are involved in criminal activities, severe punishment will be imposed," ministry spokesman Zhang said.
He added that authorities will further upgrade the technical means to intensify supervision of the hukou system and encourage the public to report more information about multiple-hukou cases.
"The fundamental way to solve the problem is to reform and cancel the household registration system, which led to unfair treatment when people purchased housing, cars, applied for jobs and received education, especially in major cities," said Dai Peng, a professor of criminal investigation at the Chinese People's Public Security University.
Hong Daode, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, added that Gong and the police officers involved will be accused of fabricating residential identity cards, and if convicted, they will face jail terms of up to two years. If the circumstances are serious, they will serve three to seven years.
He suggested enhance supervision of all police officers and intensifying efforts to uncover those corrupt ones.
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