China / Society

Prostitution crackdown expands nationwide

By Zhang Yan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-02-17 02:50

The Ministry of Public Security on Sunday urged police nationwide to crack down on prostitution, gambling and drug crimes after the recent exposure of widespread prostitution in Dongguan, Guangdong province.

The ministry urged police to use Dongguan as a lesson and intensify their campaigns against prostitution, gambling and drugs to improve people's sense of security and satisfaction.

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"The ministry attaches great importance to the issue and will resolutely investigate, severely punish and firmly attack the organizers, operators and 'protective umbrellas' behind prostitution crimes," Wen Guohui, a ministry press officer, said on Sunday.

The ministry's statement followed a report by China Central Television on Feb 9 about prostitution in Dongguan. The report said local police turned a blind eye to the widespread prostitution.

The report triggered a massive crackdown in the city. More than 6,000 police officers swept through hundreds of hotels, saunas and karaoke bars in Dongguan on Feb 9, arresting at least 67 people, shuttering 12 venues and suspending two police chiefs.

The ministry, which sent a panel to Guangdong to supervise the raid, said it will investigate malfeasance and other illegal behavior of any officials involved and punish them no matter who they are.

On Friday, Yan Xiaokang, vice-mayor of Dongguan and head of the city's public security bureau, was sacked for dereliction of duty.

On Sunday, Party leaders of four local townships in Dongguan — Humen, Houjie, Huangjiang, and Fenggang — also made open apologies. They admitted loopholes in the management and said they will learn from this lesson and fully perform their duties in fighting crimes.

Since the crackdown in Guangdong, police in many other provinces, including Jiangsu, Heilongjiang, Hunan and Shandong, have mounted large-scale campaigns against prostitution and the sex trade.

On Thursday night, 200 police in Nantong, Jiangsu province, raided local karaoke clubs and nightclubs, arresting 100 people suspected of providing sex services.

On the same night, 300 Leiyang police in Hunan province raided hotels, entertainment venues, saunas and websites in a crackdown on sex trade and gambling.

Leiyang police arrested 79 people suspected of their involvement in prostitution and gambling. Police also shut down 22 entertainment venues and seized and destroyed 25 gambling machines.

Earlier on Tuesday, authorities in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, dispatched 4,800 police officers to investigate 2,700 hotels, bathhouses and entertainment places in a similar crackdown.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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