Beijing Vice

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I’ve been writing a whole lot about criminal law recently, and what with all the murder, rape and rioting, I thought we could all use a break. Additionally, it’s Friday and the weekend is looming.

So while technically sticking to a criminal law topic, here’s some news of what the Beijing cops were up to recently:

Police in Beijing’s Chaoyang district on Tuesday discovered 557 hostesses providing paid services, which is against the law, in four luxury night clubs, and suspended the clubs’ business for six months, the Beijing Times reported Thursday.

I haven’t looked up the original version of this article, so this could be chalked up to an amusing translation, but I very much enjoy the phrase “paid services.” It’s so generic and sterile and tells us nothing of the nature of these services. What on earth could these girls have been doing that is against the law?

Police said the four night clubs – Tianshang Renjian, Mingmen Yeyan, Huadu and Kaifu International – not only had hostesses providing paid services, but also had fire prevention lapses.

This begs an obvious question: were the cops there to investigate the fire code violations and just stumbled upon the hookers, or was it vice {cough} versa?

The newspaper cited a police officer as saying six months of business suspension are the “severest penalty for providing paid hostesses services.”

That actually does seem like a harsh punishment. Closing down for six months would drive a lot of clubs out of business. On the other hand, if that photo above is any indication, these businesses had hookers up to their armpits – the profit’s in high volume, I understand.

In a bid to crack down on prostitution, Chaoyang police have checked more than 400 singing halls, foot and body massage centers and hair salons without licenses since April 11.

I assume this means that they were looking for the hookers, and not for fire code violations. And by the way, I would guess that “without licenses” refers to business licenses, not hooker licenses, the latter being exceedingly difficult to come by.