Spas and foot massage parlours in a district of Foshan in Guangdong will have to record details of all their customers and give the information to the authorities from next month.
Identity card readers are to be installed at the businesses in the Chancheng district and training given to reception staff on how to use the machines, the Communist Party newspaper the People’s Daily reported. The regulations will come into force on April 8.
The authorities said the move was not aimed at tackling prostitution, but crimes such as theft and street violence.
The initiative comes after a series of police raids in nearby Dongguan last month to crack down on prostitution.
Some suspected criminals tried to hide or rest in spas and foot massage parlours in Foshan after midnight when the businesses were busy because they felt they were less likely to come under surveillance by the authorities, the report said.
“The purpose is to squeeze the area of criminal activities and eliminate security soft spots,” an officer said.
More than 40 per cent of the businesses have installed the security card system but some have expressed concern about how the regulations would impact on their trade, the report said.
“[Customers] come here for entertainment. If asked for their ID card they will suspect you are investigating something.” a receptionist at a foot massage parlour told the People’s Daily.
Police said they would check the regulations were enforced on a daily basis and businesses that failed to comply would be severely punished.
If criminal activities were also found in the businesses, the owners and managers would be brought to the court, the report said.
The deputy mayor and police chief in Dongguan were sacked after last month’s raids on businesses alleged to be involved in prostitution.
Ten police officers were also punished for negligence in handling public complaints about prostitution in the city.