CCTV investigation sparks crackdown on sex trade

shanghaidaily.com | By Li Qian | February 10, 2014, Monday

Just hours after a national broadcast program accused police of doing nothing about the rampant sex trade in Dongguan, 67 suspects had been detained and 12 entertainment venues shut down in the city in southern Guangdong Province.

Zhongtang Town public security bureau chief He Cheng has been suspended.

A total of 6,525 police officers took part in a crackdown that began at 3pm yesterday and was due to continue until early this morning.

The program that sparked the raids aired on China Central Television at noon yesterday.

CCTV’s undercover report claimed that sex services were openly and widely available at massage parlors, hotels, sauna centers and karaoke clubs in Dongguan. Some five-star hotels, such as the Sheraton Dongguan, were also involved in the illegal but lucrative business, CCTV alleged.

The highly visible trade in sex, according to CCTV, included beauty contests where prostitutes wearing revealing dresses and number tags paraded along a catwalk in front of prospective clients. Sometimes presenters promoted girls like products on shopping channels, CCTV said.

A manager at the Yuanfeng Hotel in Zhongtang Town admitted the hotel was built for prostitution rather than accommodation. Almost every guest there paid for sex, he said, and the hotel was being extended to meet the demand.

In Fenggang Town, where there is a red-light district, a spa manager said every venue had its own “special services” in order to survive cut-throat competition.

She said two more spas were due to open soon because of the number of prospective clients.

Some high-end hotels also provide sex services, but in relative secrecy, CCTV claimed.

At the Sheraton Dongguan in Houjie Town, people looking for sexual services have to go to the Royal Club in the underground garage.

There, they take an elevator to the hotel’s sauna center on the fifth floor, the report said.

The manager said only sexual services were on offer. The center has been open for several years and had many loyal guests, he added.

In a room at another five-star establishment, the Crown Prince Hotel in Huangjiang Town, two naked prostitutes were seen dancing behind a two-way mirror.

The manager of the hotel’s sauna center told CCTV’s undercover reporter that there were 50 such rooms and clients could choose which dancer they want to meet up with later.

Prostitution is illegal in China but police in Dongguan have decided “to let the city fall into decay,” following several ineffective crackdowns in the past decade, CCTV said.

They ignored a tip-off about the Yuanfeng Hotel, the program said, despite the fact there is a police station just five minutes’ walk away.

Police also didn’t check on its claims about the Crown Prince Hotel either, CCTV reported.

A manager at the Dongzhen Hotel in Zhongtang Town said they weren’t afraid of police.

“The only thing which would worry us is if you were a reporter,” he was seen saying in the program.

A staff member at the Yue Sheng Hotel in Houjie Town told the undercover reporter: “You don’t need to worry about safety. It is fine. How will police come? If that happens, our hotel should have been closed long ago. Where are the police?”

Local residents interviewed by CCTV expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation.

“Law enforcement departments know much more than anyone else about where prostitution exists and who are involved. But they just don’t do anything,” one said.

“What you saw and heard are all facts. It (the sex trade) has been almost made public,” he added.

One interviewee said she worried about corruption in such an environment.

During their undercover inquiries, CCTV came across a group of men, apparently drunk, who had just left a KTV inside the Dongguan Exhibition International Hotel.

They drove in what was later confirmed as an official car to the offices of the 5th Engineering Co Ltd affiliated to the state-owned China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group Co Ltd.

The private use of official cars is not allowed, CCTV said.