Guangdong detains thousands in crackdown on prostitution

BEIJING - Prostitution in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong has been "effectively curbed" following a four-month crackdown and the detention of more than 3,000 suspects, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

Guangdong's campaign against vice was launched in February after a report by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) about the sex industry in the notorious "sin city" of Dongguan, a major manufacturing centre close to Hong Kong.

The report, which showed secret footage of scantily-clad women and managers openly discussing prostitution services, triggered a long public debate in China and led to the dismissal of several local officials.

Police in the province have busted as many as 214 gangs following a series of raids on nightclubs, saunas and other entertainment venues. Xinhua said 269 venues were ordered to close and 3,129 to suspend operations.

More than 1,200 illegal websites and 1 million instant messaging accounts were also shut as part of a crackdown on sex sold online, it added.

The crackdown will continue until the end of the year, Xinhua cited public security officials as saying.