Police in the southern province of Guangdong have cracked down on a prostitution ring in Qiandong town of Chaozhou City, arresting the alleged four leaders and 11 people involved in prostitution cases.
Local police launched raids on karaoke bars, barbershops, hotels and rent houses in the boom town in east Guangdong, following reports from Hong Kong media earlier this month.
Wu Lihuai, an official with the public security bureau of Chaozhou City, confirmed that prostitution-related crimes had occurred in Qiandong in recent years, but denied the reports in Hong Kong newspapers.
"We have not found what was described by the newspapers as eighty brothels in Qiandong Town and thousands of women forced to provide sexual services, but the investigation is continuing," said Wu.
Police had beefed up investigations of rent houses and "illegal entertainment venues" in the town with more than 460 police involved, he said.
Police arrested four people suspected of organizing prostitution and 11 persons involved in specific prostitution cases in a raid on a night club on Jan. 9.
In addition, a villager surnamed Lin, was found to have rented his apartment to three women, but he failed to register them with the government as required on Jan. 8.
With a population of more than 120,000, Qiandong is home to more than 1,000 factories and workshops. According to the local public security bureau, a quarter of the population came from other areas of China and more than 90 percent worked at local factories.
"More people have come to live and work in Qiandong in recent years. We know some women have been involved in the sex trade and they are very noisy at night," said a villager Lin Yuzhong.
"But their number is far less than what is being said in the papers," said Lin.
According to Lin, the "annoying" women had disappeared and it was much quieter than before at night.
Huang Junhui, Communist Party chief of Qiandong Town, said they had formed a 24-strong team to patrol the town to maintain social order.
"The media reports rang alarms for us and we will continue to fight against prostitution-related crimes," said Huang.