Police chiefs promised yesterday to review their handling of suspects after lawmakers criticised the treatment of 40 mainland women suspected of prostitution, who were held for 13 hours in a cramped cage in public view. The women were arrested in a big anti-vice operation on Monday and left in what police term a temporary holding area while officers checked their identities and took statements. About 14 square metres in size, the cage is sandwiched between the Tsim Sha Tsui police station building and its car park. The women were later taken away in police buses for further processing. 'If you launch a large operation, it is inevitable that there may not be enough space to detain all of the arrested persons,' legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said. 'But it's a bit strange if they are not processed quickly and could be photographed. Besides [the question of] whether the suspects were treated humanely, their privacy is also important.' James To Kun-sun, the chairman of the Legislative Council's security panel, was also unhappy with the force's handling of the detainees. He said police should have kept the arrested women at proper detention facilities at other police stations if facilities at one location could not meet demand. Mr To said he would follow up the incident with police and the Security Bureau. The force defended its actions, however, saying such arrangements are permitted under regulations and that the needs of the suspects, such as for food and water, were taken care of. Acting Chief Superintendent Cheung Tak-keung, from the police public relations branch, said there was no definition of what temporary holding areas were, and that the time needed for processing each case varied according to the circumstances. He said the force would review regulations and the set-up of temporary holding areas.