A big scandal erupted recently in Shanghai when allegations came to light that a local crime boss offered prostitution services to government officials in exchange for business advantages.
On Dec. 30, 2020, a Shanghai supreme court upheld a lower court decision by Shanghai’s second intermediate court against the defendant, 47-year-old Zhao Fuqiang, a former controller of Shanghai Yusheng Investment Management Co. Zhao was indicted on charges of organizing a criminal gang and prostitution ring, rape, fraud, picking quarrels and stirring up trouble, coercion, and bribery.
The ruling said that Zhao influenced local government officials, state-owned company executives, judges, and police officers through offering sex services in exchange for business advantages, according to a Jan. 18 report by Chinese finance magazine Caixin.
Zhao first struggled to make a living as a tailor after he moved to Shanghai from his rural hometown of Taixing city, Jiangsu Province, in the late 1990s. He then turned to running a prostitution ring. A local barbershop served as the front business.
A former female employee at the barbershop said Zhao was “a demon,” in an interview with Caixin. According to the woman’s account, Zhao recruited her from a babysitter agency. Soon, he coaxed her into agreeing to provide sex services by promising her “lifetime care” and telling her, “let’s make money together for our family.” But he didn’t pay her a salary. He gave her some money at the end of the year to cover her living expenses. If she disobeyed, he would beat her or threaten to tell her family about her sex work.
Eventually, Zhao moved into the office leasing sector. That’s when he transformed an office property he rented into a secret brothel. There, he coerced women he hired into providing regular, long-term sex services to his clients.
He invited powerful local figures to his office and treated them to meals and sexual favors in return for business opportunities to help him monopolize industry resources for lease. By relying on such ties, he swiftly built a team, expanded his operations, and accumulated tremendous wealth.
But his collusion with corrupt local officials eventually landed Zhao in jail. He was sentenced to death with two years probation and restrictions on commutation. His personal assets will likely be confiscated as well.
More than a dozen CCP officials were sacked and charged with taking bribes and colluding with Zhao’s criminal gang, Caixin reported.
They include Lu Yan, standing member of Yangpu District Party Committee and chief of the local political and legal affairs committee; Ren Yongfei, head of Yangpu District Court; Cen Hongquan, vice director of Yangpu Public Security Bureau; Lin Feng, general manager of Shanghai Wuhuan Mansion Investment Development Co.; Jiang Shan, general manager of Shanghai Huangpu Public Leasing Housing Management Co.; Hu Chenghao, director of Yinxing Road Police Station; and Sun Zhendong, vice director of Changbai Xincun Police Station, among others.
The majority of them ended up with prison sentences ranging from seven-and-a-half to 17 years.
Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power in 2012, many officials—chiefly those who were part of factions that opposed his rule—have been sacked under a sweeping anti-corruption campaign.