PHOTO: OFFICIAL CONCERN – Xu Zhong, head of the research bureau at the People’s Bank of China, warned in September that “rapidly rising” housing prices could pose a “systemic risk” to the economy. REUTERS/Stringer

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG/BEIJING  – When Zhu Chenxia bought a flat early last year from Lei Yarong in the up-market Nanshan district of China’s southern metropolis of Shenzhen, the two women drew up three purchase agreements to cover the deal.

Only one was genuine.

In the legitimate contract, Zhu agreed to pay Lei 6.49 million yuan (about $980,000) for the 96-square-meter apartment near the city’s border with Hong Kong, according to records filed in a Shenzhen court. With the help of her property agent, Zhu cooked up a second contract with Lei that overstated the value of the flat at 7 million yuan. This one was for the bank.