Officials in the northern Chinese city of Tangshan launched a “lightning blitz” campaign against criminal gangs on Monday after nine men were arrested over the weekend for allegedly battering women. The two-week campaign – led by a special group within the city government – with cover a series of criminal activities, from assault and battery of women to extortion, gambling, prostitution and scams. The officials called on the public to report suspicious activity to the police and promised that all tip-offs would be treated confidentially and the informants would be protected. “[We] must focus on criminal activities that the public are most angry about and crimes that have serious ill effects on society,” the campaign announcement said. “[We] will hit them hard with heavy penalties, and root them out one by one with full force. “[We] will fight this battle against crime with lightning force,” it said, adding that the city’s top leadership would head the group. Nine held in Chinese city after fierce attack on women diners The offensive comes after nine men were arrested over an attack on several women at a barbecue restaurant in the city on Friday. The violence of the attack, captured by security cameras, shocked people around the country and raised suspicions that the men were gangsters protected by corrupt police officers. In a video posted on its website on Monday, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the Communist Party’s top anti-corruption watchdog, warned there would be zero tolerance for such crimes in China because of the threat to public safety. “Such violence has enraged people across the country … amounting to a blatant challenge to the bottom line of our law,” it said. “On the web, there are waves of calls that the perpetrators must face serious punishment. “In the past few years, we have made great efforts in our struggle and crackdown against crime … and China has become one of the safest countries in the world. “We must safeguard this sense of security and continue the good work and maintain our success.’ It added that other areas, and not just Tangshan, should look at the causes of public safety problems and overcome them. The arrests also prompted a number of complaints from the public. A cake shop owner claimed he was blackmailed by gangsters for more than a year and another woman called the police about being held hostage and was beaten by four men at a bar. Tangshan police quickly responded saying both cases were being investigated and the four men had been detained.