3 teenagers charged with running schoolgirl sex ring
Investigators in Shanghai have cracked a prostitution ring run by teenage girls working for 'pocket money', with two of the more than 20 suspects under the age of 14, local media reported.
Most of the girls involved in the ring are still in high school and were reported to have been contacting clients through internet chat forums and via mobile phones.
'Many of the suspect girls were actively prostituting [themselves] and introducing prostitutes for pocket money,' the Xinmin Evening News quoted an unnamed prosecutor as saying. 'The clients had formed a regular 'circle', in a format similar to Japanese society's so-called 'compensated dating'.'
Three girls believed to be the instigators of the ring face charges of offering sex services and acting as go-betweens, introducing their classmates and friends into the sex trade, prosecutors told the paper.
The Shanghai Daily reported that some of the girls came from 'families with decent economic backgrounds' and claimed to be unaware they were breaking the law.
'To me, it's not even realistic or worthwhile to study hard, go to university and have a decent job,' the paper quoted one suspect, identified only by the nickname 'Xiao Wen', as saying.
'I don't want to be a normal worker like my parents, living a hard life to earn money.'
The Zhabei district people's procuratorate declined to respond to queries or confirm details of the case.
'Some young women have been deeply influenced by the depraved cultures of Japan and Taiwan,' a prosecutor told Xinmin.
'Their actions followed the prototype of so-called 'compensated dating', where young schoolgirls have dates with men for money and engage in sexual activities.' None of the suspects were named in the media reports, which referred to the girls only by their surnames or nicknames.
The three girls alleged to have started the ring - Xiao Wen, her childhood friend 'Nana' and her classmate 'Pingping' - apparently began seeking sex clients through online forums in late 2009.
All the girls were under 18 years of age at the time, although Nana had dropped out of school.
By early last year, the trio are alleged to have started introducing other young girls to the trade, earning a 300 yuan (HK$367) fee for each introduction.
The clients reportedly paid up to 1,000 yuan for each encounter.
Prosecutors said some of the girls' regular clients knew each other, with at least seven being close friends.
One suspected pimp is alleged to have been a former client who began introducing under-age girls to his friends, charging both parties for the introduction.
According to the media reports, the girls arranged the meetings with clients over the internet before directing the teenage prostitutes to meet them at hotels.
The sex normally took place at cheap chain hotels, Xinmin reported. The newspaper said the case had highlighted 'serious loopholes' in the chains' management.
Amount the suspected ringleaders are alleged to have received for each introduction of a girl to a client