Beijing police raid salons, parlors

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The public security bureau of Chaoyang district on Thursday raided 14 hair salons and foot massage parlors for allegedly providing prostitution services and other crimes.

Police officers close a foot massage parlor in the Chaoyang district of Beijing on Thursday on suspicion that the shop was involved in prostitution.

Police officers close a foot massage parlor in the Chaoyang district of Beijing on Thursday on suspicion that the shop was involved in prostitution.

More than 80 police officers took park in the crackdown and cleared up the shops on the eastern outskirts of the city, including five unlicensed entertainment venues in a street of Pingfang, bordering the rural regions of the district.

The operation was part of a 100-day campaign by the municipal public security bureau, which will last until Sept 20.

The police first raided a dimly lit, three-room foot massage shop. The owner, a woman surnamed Xu from Sichuan province, said her ex-husband had previously run the business, which she said was legal.

However, after a police check, the services provided by the shop went beyond its foot massage business.

"The shop was suspected of offering sex massages," said Peng Jiang, the head of Pingfang public security bureau, adding that the partitions in the rooms were not transparent, as the law stipulates.

The owner's license was revoked and she was fined.

After that, the law enforcement officers found another unlicensed massage center that was locked. Police officers eventually forced their way into the room.

As they did, a woman rushed over from a crowd of residents and said the shop belonged to her, adding that there was nothing in it.

But as she opened the door, a female employee, about 20 years old, was found sitting with a man in a room. They told police they were just relaxing. The owner, the employee and the man had no resident permits although they claimed their certificates were being processed.

Peng ordered the woman to shut down her shop immediately and said the police would check her later in the evening.

"Some shops were cleaned up after tip-offs from local residents. Some were discovered during our regular checks," said Guan Jianguo, another police officer from the bureau.

Wang Hongjun, director of the Public Order Research Office at the Chinese People's Public Security University, told China Daily that illegal hair salons and foot massage shops always operated on the outskirts of the city because of the large mixed population of immigrants in those areas.

"Most owners open shops there because the rent is cheaper and it is hard to spot the rooms," Wang said. "Some who are suspected of running illegal businesses will face administrative punishments and some may face a criminal penalty if the cases are serious."

Sometimes commercial officials were confronted by violent protests from wrongdoers, but these can be avoided if the police cooperate with them, he said.

However, Wang added the most important thing is to increase regular checks instead of waiting for residents' reports.

Police have already closed 224 hair salons and foot massage parlors in Beijing for being engaged in prostitution and have arrested 715 people since April, according to previous reports.

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