Guangdong police are setting up a unique task force charged with investigating and persecuting online promotion of prostitution services, according to China Daily. The online crackdown is the latest step being taken by authorities after several highly publicized bathhouse and hotel raids in the former sex-mecca of Dongguan last year.
"After great efforts by law enforcement bodies to fight prostitution in local entertainment venues in past months, many organizers and operators now publish advertisements in QQ chat rooms, on WeChat, through mobile phone message texts and other instant messaging services," Peng Hui, deputy director-general of the Guangdong Department of Public Security, told China Daily.
The new online sex-for-sale advertising method has been a major issue for police, according to Peng, who is quoted in China Daily as stating, “Effective and concrete measures should soon be taken to fight this sort of crime."
Unlike previous raids, which have largely focused on Dongguan, this undertaking will see every city in Guangdong host its own online crime task force to tackle prostitution and gambling promotions.
The same report also states that police will be stepping up cooperation with banks, government departments and telecommunication companies, amongst others, to stifle these ‘sinful’ moral activities.
The ‘special campaign’, referred to by Peng as Net Oriole, was created last month to suppress the online promotion of gambling and prostitution and will run for 100 days. The timing of the campaign’s launch wasn’t an arbitrary decision, according to Peng’s China Daily interview, it was chosen because the winter months (including the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday) are generally the peak-season for online criminal promotions (again, namely prostitution and gambling).
Guangdong residents are being urged to call police immediately to report illegal activities and tipsters will allegedly be guaranteed rewards for information that aids police in the crackdown.
Guangdong police arrested 119,710 suspects and solved 53,529 cases involving prostitution and gambling in the first 11 months of the year, according to the China Daily report. Last year in Dongguan (a manufacturing city in the province) more than 2,000 establishments – including hotels, massage parlors and saunas – were shuttered, according to state media.