The vice crackdown that began in Dongguan last month has resulted in the arrest of more than 850 suspects and will expand across Guangdong before it wraps up in May, provincial police authorities said yesterday.
Zheng Dong, the deputy chief of Guangdong's public security bureau, said the three-month campaign against the illegal sex trade has already led to the break-up of more than 60 criminal gangs, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.
It had cost more than 3,000 hotels, saunas and massage parlours their licences. So far, 865 people had been arrested, including 541 accused of running prostitution businesses.
The crackdown began in the wake of a February 10 China Central Television report accusing Dongguan authorities of allowing a massive sex industry to flourish in the struggling manufacturing hub's hotels and bathhouses.
Zheng said fighting prostitution across a province that borders Hong Kong and Macau was a formidable task which required perseverance. Municipal police bureaus would be held accountable if they failed to crack down on vice in their jurisdiction, he said.
Thirty-six police officials in Dongguan, including Yan Xiaokang, the former deputy mayor and head of the city's public security bureau, have been suspended or removed from office on suspicion of protecting prostitution businesses. In addition, some 854 websites and more than 96,000 public instant-messaging accounts have been closed for promoting sex services online.
The Yangcheng Evening News reported that the provincial department of public security had drafted new rules and regulations to standardise the operation of massage parlours, saunas and other entertainment venues.
The measures, which would ban VIP rooms and prohibit massage parlours from locking doors and shutting off the lights, are expected to be submitted to Guangdong's executive conference for approval.