CHINA> Regional
18 arrested over school girls rape scandal
Updated: 2009-07-08 20:21

FUZHOU: Eighteen people, including two local government officials, were detained for allegedly raping underaged girls and forcing them into prostitution in Fujian Province, the local government said Wednesday.

Zheng Wenshan, an officer with the Anxi County legislature, and Xu Xinjian, president of a vocational school, along with five others face multiple charges of sexual assault of a minor.

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Eleven other suspects had allegedly organized and forced schoolgirls to provide sexual services, the county government said in a circular.

The county public security bureau in May sentenced Xie Zhiteng, director of a township industrial and commercial administration, to six months re-education through labor in a penitentiary for procuring the services of adult prostitutes arranged by the ring.

A 13-year-old girl of the Jinhuo Middle School, in Anxi, reported to the police in April that she was forced by an unemployed man, Yang Xiangsi, to prostitute herself in a hotel. She was released later as the arranged client backed out.

An initial investigation by the county public security bureau revealed that Yang and his 10 alleged accomplices rented homes close to the school from October 2008 till April this year. During that time, they allegedly used verbal intimidation, physical coercion and promises of material gains to force eight girls under the age of 14 and two adult women into prostitution.

The ring generated huge profits, said the circular, but the amount was not revealed.

The circular said they released the girls after each transaction was completed.

The cases of Zheng, Xu and Xie, who had been deprived of their administrative or Communist Party posts, had been referred for prosecution.