A self-styled Taoist group which raised money by persuading women to work as prostitutes was uncovered by police yesterday. Twenty men and 16 women were being questioned by police after raids on three flats in Mongkok and Shamshuipo, used as dormitories by the so-called 'Green Dragon Temple'. Two of the flats had altars with more than 50 Chinese religious idols including Kwan Tei, the God of Justice, and the Goddess of Heaven, characteristic of Taoism. A 14-year-old girl, believed to have been raped after she refused to work as a prostitute, was rescued during the operation involving about 40 detectives from Mongkok crime squads. Many of the women were clerks or unemployed and were introduced to the group through friends, police said. As followers, they were encouraged to work as prostitutes and to give all their money to the temple. Police said the syndicate supplied prostitutes to Mongkok villas and charged customers up to $500 each. A Taoist master in Kowloon City said the Chinese religion encouraged celibacy. 'If these people use the religion to trap women into prostitution, they are just criminals - not a religious group at all,' he said. Police began investigations after two men claimed on September 18 that they were being blackmailed for $200,000. The two men were among the 36 people helping police inquiries last night.