A Family Tried to Skirt China Property Rules With 23 Divorces and Weddings
A couple kiss for a wedding photograph in Thames Town in Songjiang, China. (Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

A Family Tried to Skirt China Property Rules With 23 Divorces and Weddings

(Bloomberg) -- Faking a divorce has been a ploy used by Chinese couples desperate to skirt the nation’s property curbs.

But a family in the city of Lishui has taken the scam to extreme lengths, churning through 23 divorces and weddings in a month.

The ruse was aimed at winning greater compensation when their house was demolished for a new development. Under the system, each member of the household would be entitled to 40 square meters of space in the new development.

It all started with Mr. Pan, who lived in the house, remarrying his ex-wife, allowing her to qualify for the compensation plan, the city’s official newspaper reported Tuesday. Two weeks later, he divorced her and married his sister-in-law, adding her to the plan.

On it went, with each new family member enlarging the amount of space to be awarded as compensation, until government authorities discovered the house suddenly was home to 13 people, and promptly arrested 11 of them, the paper said.

While it’s an extreme case in property-obsessed China, where would-be home buyers have to navigate a shifting array of property curbs, it’s probably more understandable given home prices in Lishui have surged as much as 31% in the past two years, according to data provider Fangjia.com.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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