SEJONG-- South Korea's tax office said Tuesday that it has imposed taxes of some 60 billion won (US$55 million) on real estate speculators who have not paid their dues, as part of efforts to curb price hikes in the local housing market.

In September this year, the National Tax Service (NTS) launched a second round of investigations on suspected tax dodgers, mostly those who own multiple homes in areas where home prices have risen sharply.

The tax agency said earlier it was looking into 588 people who bought and sold lucrative rebuilt apartments in the Gangnam district of Seoul and certain other areas, which are at the center of the overheated property boom.

The agency said it has checked all financial records of the suspects and even their family members.

The latest probe is a follow-up of the NTS' ongoing investigation that kicked off in August into 286 multiple-home owners and wealthy people who allegedly falsified housing transaction information to evade transfer income taxes.

Earlier, the Seoul government announced stricter measures to stabilize the country's overheated housing market around the capital city of Seoul and its surrounding areas. It imposed a ban on bank loans given to multiple-home owners and forbid people from reselling apartment purchase rights, along with the levying of higher taxes on real estate transactions.

Source: Yonhap News Agency