Vice crackdown moves to bars
Zhang Yan
Sun, Jul 18, 2010
China Daily/Asia News Network

China - Three months into a crackdown against prostitution, gambling and drug trafficking, a senior officer says police have a clear idea of how the illegal operations are carried out in the city - and a firm resolve to stamp them out.

Qian Jin, vice-head of the Security Corps within the city's Public Security Bureau, told METRO on Tuesday that the operation that started April 14 has involved 9,000 police officers. Qian said 100 officers hit the streets each night along with 30 plain-clothes colleagues. They have swooped on 2,000 KTV clubs and bath houses in the city looking for illegal activity.

Qian said law enforcement officials have been working closely with the business commission, cultural department and other relevant sections during the crackdown in an effort to create a safe, civilized and healthy cultural environment.

"We are determined to put an end to the following five illegal activities in the entertainment places," he said.

"I am referring to organizing, housing and offering prostitution; staging obscene shows; setting up casinos; operating irregularly; and managing a business without qualified documents, such as the permits from the environmental and cultural departments."

In May, police raided the five-star "East City" KTV in Tianlun Dynasty Hotel, near Wangfujing, Dongcheng district. In a high-profile swoop, they found alleged evidence of prostitution.

The KTV was ordered to close for six months for allegedly housing and offering prostitution.

Qian said the police raids on KTVs have found that many are operated "irregularly", incorporating such things as security doors and alarm systems to make people aware of raids who are deeper inside the building.

Other KTVs have used office space and employee dormitories for illegal activities, he said.

Some, he said, have closed for "redecoration" during the crackdown but have continued to provide sex services for their members.

He said police have also uncovered other deficiencies in the businesses such as broken equipment, poor security practices, a lack of required video surveillance technology, loose management practices and even illegally stored knives and rubber staffs kept as weapons.

One of the successes during the crackdown was the raid of a KTV in Changping district, called "Qixingzhaomeng", on June 7 that led to it being ordered to close for three months, he said.

Qian told METRO the company randomly changed or deleted video surveillance information and did not keep a full register of employees.

He said police will step up the crackdown by continuing to target KTVs and bath houses, this time concentrating on checking employee authorization cards (IC cards) and ensuring workers do not have criminal records connected to prostitution, gambling or drug addiction.

"The IC card is a magnetic card carrying their real names that can show if they have a criminal record, especially for pornography. If so, according to Chinese law, they are prohibited from engaging in the entertainment industry," Qian said.

"They are required to swipe their cards when they go to work each day, so we can get a timely grasp of their tracks."

Qian said entertainment places must also employ qualified security guards from formal security companies who have received proper training.

Also, entertainment venues are required by law to have a fully functioning CCTV system capable of storing a clear image for 30 days. They are, however, not allowed to set up cameras near the entrance and exit to watch out for the police, he said.

Businesses that fail to meet these obligations can be fined and have their business licenses suspended for up to six months.

And enterprises that have their licenses pulled twice in the space of two years and those that have them pulled three times in total will have their licenses revoked, he said.

Police plan to carry out a one-month clean-up of city bars from now and will target watering holes in Luoguxiang, Houhai, Sanlitun and the area around the Beijing Foreign Languages University in Haidian district.

"Since the crackdown and the tighter regulation of the city's KTV clubs and bath houses, prostitutes have begun to flow to the bars and have continued to engage in prostitution," Qian said.

He said plain-clothes officers have already been frequenting bars during a preliminary investigation and found some are sheltering prostitutes.

If bars are found to be involved in illegal activities, they will also face fines and could have their business licenses suspended or revoked.

As of June 30, police had closed 40 entertainment places for allegedly organizing, housing and offering prostitutes.

In addition, police found 266 KTV clubs with broken equipment and poor security and closed 445 hair salons that were fronting for brothels.

Some 580 gambling machines have been seized.

During the campaign, 290 suspects believed to either be prostitutes or involved in organizing prostitutes have been detained.

In addition 2,000 suspects have been held for breaking public security rules.

- China Daily/Asia News Network

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