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Chinese police arrest four robber-killers targeting prostitutes


14:15, December 13, 2011

HARBIN, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police have arrested four robbers who targeted prostitutes and typically killed and mutilated their victims, police in northeastern Harbin city said Tuesday.

The four suspects, three men and a woman, are being accused of robbing and murdering ten people, including eight prostitutes, in provinces across China from 1998 to 2004. The victims were mutilated in each case, said Sun Junting, deputy head of Harbin's public security bureau.

Police arrested the four in the city of Batou in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in November, almost ten years after they became wanted by police and went into hiding under pseudonyms.

Police said the suspects lured prostitutes to rented houses and forced them to surrender bank cards and PIN numbers before beating and killing them. Police estimate the group stole 2 million yuan (314,960 U.S. dollars) in total.

Prostitution is illegal in China. Although it was nearly wiped out on the mainland after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the trade began to flourish in the 1980s, with prostitutes of various kinds thriving in beauty salons, hotels and karaoke bars across the country.

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