A middlge-aged man in Nanyang, Henan Province, purchased the virginity of 17 middle school girls, arousing concerns about the education of rural area youths, a Guangdong Province newspaper reported Wednesday.
Last September, parents of two girls reported to middle school officials that their daughters were wearing new dresses and had money they did not give to them.
After repeatedly asking the girls, they said the money was given to them by a man in exchange for their virginity. School officials called police.
Investigators found 10 more girls from the school who sold their virginity to the same man. The girls also gave police the mobile phone number of the man.
The victims were introduced to the man by Xiao Mei, Xiao Bao and Xiao Tong, no relation, three other girls who also sold their virginity to the man.
When they received payment for their virginity, they promised to introduce more virgins to the man.
Officers captured Deng Jun, 43, while he parked his minibus near the school.
Police said Deng confessed to purchasing the girls' virginity. He allegedly had sexual relations with 17 girls more than 20 times, including 12 girls under the age of 14.
The age of consensual sex in China is 14. Deng is in custody but has not been charged. Police did not confirm his motive although there were rumors saying he was seeking good luck.
Deng worked at a real estate company. He found an Internet tip that said having sex with a virgin would give him the luck he needed to get a promotion.
An officer involved in the investigation denied the rumor. The officer would only say Deng's motive was different.
School officials said the lack of parental guidance is part of the reason why Deng was successful.
Most of the victims were living with their grandparents as their parents were away working in other provinces.