A senior police official who was involved in a child prostitution ring in China's northern Hebei province has been jailed for raping six underage girls in as many months.
Kang Yong, 54, was sentenced to 16 1/2 years for having sex with the girls, who were all below the age of 14, eight times between the summer of 2017 and early 2018, as well as taking and receiving bribes.
The sentence was handed down in August by the Tangshan Intermediate People's Court but was only made public on Monday in a report by The Beijing News.
Suspicion fell on Kang, former deputy director of the Qianan Public Security Bureau, when he tried to bribe his colleagues into dropping an investigation into a gang of 12 people detained in March last year for swindling people by pretending to be injured in faked car accidents.
The gang later confessed to also raping underage girls and forcing them into prostitution, by taking nude pictures and videos of them to use as blackmail, and coercing them into introducing new victims to the perpetrators. Three of the operation's masterminds were sentenced in January 2019.
An unidentified source familiar with the case told The Beijing News that dozens of men " including businessmen, public servants and a legislator " were implicated in the gang's activities but not all were punished due to a lack of evidence.
Kang was investigated by the party disciplinary body in July last year and confessed he was also involved in the prostitution ring. His first victim was a 13-year-old girl who later took more girls to him at his request.
Kang, who posed as a doctor during his dealings with the girls, said they had lied about their ages. The court also heard the 13-year-old had told some of the girls to put on make-up to look older. Each girl was paid up to 1,000 yuan (US$140).
The 13-year-old was not investigated or punished because she was younger than 16, the legal age of criminal liability. Sex with girls below the age of 14, with or without their consent, constitutes rape under China's criminal law.
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