Seven arrested in new China economic zone real estate frenzy - China Daily

SHANGHAI, April 6 (Reuters) - Seven people have been arrested in China for unspecified real estate violations in an area slated to become the country’s newest special economic zone, the China Daily newspaper reported on Thursday.

A government committee formed to prepare for the Xiongan New Area, in northern Hebei province, found 765 cases of real estate violations and had shut down 71 sales offices, the newspaper quoted a statement from the body as saying.

It did not give details of the violations.

News on Saturday of the plan to set up the zone in Hebei, which will be modeled on the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, sent bargain-hunters flocking to the 100 sq km (40 sq miles) area.

By Sunday, average apartment prices in the region had almost doubled, hotels were full and residents complained about traffic jams as out-of-towners from Beijing and beyond descended on the area 100 km (60 miles) southwest of the capital, the Global Times newspaper had reported.

The government responded by banning property sales in the counties where the zone will be situated, forcing real estate agents to shut and frustrating would-be investors.

Hebei’s Communist Party leader, Zhao Kezhi, said the area would implement “the most stringent control” of the property sector and send a warning to would-be speculators by punishing illegal activity swiftly, the newspaper reported. (Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Paul Tait)