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Japanese sex scandal in Zhuhai revealed
The notorious mass prostitution case relating to a group of Japanese tourists in September in Zhuhai was adjudicated Wednesday, with two Chinese defendants sentenced to life imprisonment and another 12 sentenced to 2 to 15 years in prison for organizing prostitution or assisting the organization of prostitution.

The Zhuhai Intermediate People's Court made the verdict after its trial of first instance.

Chinese police has also requested the Interpol to issue red notices targeting three Japanese citizens involved in the crime.

The three Japanese, namelyHirobe Isao,Takahashi ShunjiandFukunaga Koji, were accused of organizing prostitution for over 200 Japanese tourists during their stay at a hotel in Zhuhai during Sept. 16 to 18, police sources said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry has made representations with the Japanese side, requesting assistance to the Chinese police for the capture of the three suspects.

The three-day party, allegedly involving hundreds of Chinese prostitutes, ended on Sept. 18, and triggered wide anger among theChinese public as it coincided with the sensitive anniversary dateof a 1931 Japanese attack on Northeast China, an event marking thestart 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 XiangandMing Zhu, employees of an unspecified Zhuhai hotel, two prime offenders, were sentenced to life imprisonment and all their property was confiscated.

Liu XuejingandZhang 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 Isaoof 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 colleaguesTakahashi ShunjiandFukunaga Kojito 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 courtwas 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.

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.

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