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Organizers of Japanese Sex Party Get Harsh Jail Terms

The trial relating to a group of 200 Japanese tourists who cavorted with Chinese prostitutes ended Wednesday, with two Chinese defendants sentenced to life imprisonment.

According to the verdict of the Zhuhai Intermediate People's Court, another 12 defendants were sentenced to prison terms of between two to 15 years for organizing prostitution or assisting the organization of the orgy.

The Chinese police have also requested Interpol to help locate three Japanese citizens, Hirobe Isao, Takahashi Shunji and Fukunaga Koji, who were accused of soliciting and organizing prostitution for their 200-plus work mates

The three-day party, allegedly involving hundreds of Chinese prostitutes, ended on Sept. 18, and triggered wide anger among the Chinese public as it coincided with the sensitive anniversary date of a 1931 Japanese attack on Northeast China, an event marking the start of Japan's invasion and occupation of China.

The Zhuhai Intermediate People's Court opened the trial on Dec.12 with 14 Chinese defendants accused of organizing prostitution, but the public and non-essential court employees were barred from the courthouse due to privacy concerns.

According to the court hearing, Ye Xiang and Ming Zhu, employees of an unspecified Zhuhai hotel, two prime offenders, were sentenced to life imprisonment and all their property was confiscated.

Liu Xuejing and Zhang Junying, another two organizers from the hotel, were sentenced to 15 year's imprisonment and 12 years respectively and both were also fined.

Another 10 defendants were sentenced to prison terms of two to 10 years in addition to fines.

According to the hearing, Hirobe Isao of an Osaka-based construction company first contacted the hotel in March to arrange a meeting for the company. But the plan was postponed due to the SARS crisis in China.

At the end of August, Isao came to Zhuhai with his colleagues Takahashi Shunji and Fukunaga Koji to sign an agreement with the hotel and clearly requested sexual services for the tourist group during talks with Liu Xuejing, a manager with the hotel, the court was told.

With this request, Ye Xiang, who worked for the hotel, contacted prostitutes Ming Zhu and Zhang Junying, who later gathered a group of prostitutes from a number of entertainment outlets.

The 200-member Japanese tourist group arrived in Zhuhai on the afternoon of Sept. 16. After the meeting, some of the tourists brought the prostitutes to their hotel rooms for sex, the court heard.

All the members of the tourist group left China at 8:00 am, Sept. 18.

Xinhua has also learned that the Chinese police have verified criminal evidence relating to the three Japanese suspects, and Chinese prosecutors have issued arrest warrants.

Interpol China has requested the issue of alert notices targeting the suspects, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry has also made representations with the Japanese government for assistance in capturing the three suspects and bringing them to justice.

Investigations have indicated that no Party or government officials in Zhuhai were involved, government sources said. But 15officials in the local public security and tourist administration departments have been disciplined for negligence.

(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2003)

Two Get Life Sentences for Aiding Prostitution
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