Friday, September 19, 2003

English Wire

Couple arrested in east China for running gay prostitution bar

BEIJING — A couple in east China's Nanjing city has been arrested for running a gay bar offering male prostitutes, still a rarity in China, Chinese media reported Friday.

The Beijing Legal Times said the prostitutes, who were heterosexual, were pressured into having sex with the clients because the bar owners refused to return deposits they had to pay to work in the club.

The prostitutes were chosen for their youthful appearance, the report said.

The bar owners were so bold that they ran advertisements in local newspapers seeking "male public relations" staff — a pseudonym for prostitutes. Each prostitute could earn 200 yuan (24 dollars) per client, but part of the payment was taken by the bar owners.

In a society where many homosexuals remain closeted — and, like the male bar owner, marrying and leading straight lives to avoid social ridicule — the demand for male prostitutes is high.

In just a matter of months, the bar owners earned 124,700 yuan (15,000 dollars) and business at the bar was booming, the report said.

Police arrested the couple on August 17. If convicted, they face a penalty of five to 10 years behind bars, the Legal Times said.

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Created: November 29, 2003
Last modified: January 15, 2004
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