Girls and boy forced into prostitution, police say
More than two dozen pimps, thugs and middle men who forced or duped seven underage girls and a 14-year-old boy into prostitution and then took 75 per cent of what they were paid have been arrested.
A total of 26 people - 19 men and seven women - face an array of charges relating to the procurement and placement of their young victims - six of them secondary school students - into so-called 'compensated dating', a disguised form of prostitution, police said yesterday.
The boy is understood to have provided sex to both male and female clients. Police refused to reveal how they found him, but said the victims were aged 13 to 17. A number of victims were provided with school uniforms as part of the vice racket.
'Some of the girls were forced into having their photos taken naked and revealing personal information, such as their school and home address, before being forced into prostitution,' said Chief Inspector Dick Wong Chung-chun of the Kowloon West regional crime unit.
Detectives said one of the girls had been involved in 'compensated dating' for about three months and had been forced to have sex with 10 men.
Superintendent Brian Lowcock said police would help the teenagers apply for care and protection orders, and refer their cases to the Social Welfare Department.
After an intelligence-gathering operation over the past two months, police began arresting suspects on July 19. Three of those arrested had been charged and the rest released on bail. The charges include controlling prostitutes and intimidation.
Officers seized computers, mobile phones, school uniforms, video cameras and nude pictures of some of teenagers in the operation, codenamed 'Whalediver'.
The eight teenagers were paid up to HK$3,000 each for sex, but had to pay pimps and middle-men up to 75 per cent of their earnings.
Officers said the girls were given school uniforms before being sent to meet their clients. It is understood clients paid extra for such a service.
Police said that those arrested were not necessarily working together and were not part of the same syndicate. However, there were triad members among those detained.
Although social networking sites are commonly used to recruit teenagers for compensated dating, police said criminals had placed advertisements in newspapers and magazines to recruit girls to drink and sing with customers in pubs or karaoke bars.
Police said undercover agents were deployed in the operation - the third phase of a crackdown on compensated dating since 2008.
Over the past two months, detectives from Kowloon West regional crime unit cracked six other cases related to compensated dating.
'One case is too much,' Lowcock said, adding that teenagers should exercise caution while looking for summer jobs.
Police have placed messages on websites and visited schools to warn teenagers of the dangers of compensated dating, including sex attacks and other crimes, as well as venereal diseases.