Over 600 arrested in crackdown on sex, gambling crimes: Seoul

SEOUL - The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency arrested 650 people related to brothels on Sunday, exposing 231 illegal gambling houses and brothels.

"We will reinforce the criminal penalty given to such brothels as prostitution is now mutating in various forms and places," said an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency.

Tightening control of widespread sex-trafficking, the police agency issued warnings to landlords that they could also come under fire for providing the location for brothels. This inducement has proved effective so far, shutting down 76 illegal facilities within a month.

The move comes after the government has come under criticism for its inaction on the rising number of illegal businesses for trading sex.

Data shows that compared to 73,000 arrests in the sex industry in 2009, a mere 21,123 people were arrested last year. The crackdown lasted for a month from Nov. 11 to Dec. 11 and authorities plan to continue the investigation until Jan. 29 next year.