Hong Kong — Authorities have shut down Hong Kong’s largest prostitution website and arrested 114 people including sex workers, said officials on Thursday.
The website sex141.com, which also has foreign editions, offered a comprehensive guide to the sex trade in the city, and also solicited prostitutes who often came from outside Hong Kong.
The website was believed to have been controlled by a criminal syndicate, which police say they have now broken up.
“When they knew there were sex workers coming to Hong Kong, the syndicate would arrange a make-up service and photographers,” a police spokesman told a press conference.
“We discovered the syndicate provided a comprehensive service to sex workers and organised prostitution groups.”
The website displayed pictures and videos to solicit clients and provided detailed information such as price and locations of brothels.
While prostitution is legal in Hong Kong, soliciting and living off the earnings of prostitutes are against the law.
A three-day crackdown began Tuesday involving the city’s anti-triad (organized crime gangs) unit, in which various locations were raided, including homes and offices, according to a Channel News Asia report.
Thus far, 114 people have been arrested, which includes 78 prostitutes between the ages of 17 and 31, said the report.
Most of the prostitutes were from mainland China, and have been arrested on such charges as overstaying or violating the conditions of their visitor visa.
Police also said about HK$15 million ($1.93 million) worth of assets related to the group had been frozen, including HK$3.2 million in cash.
Operators of the website will be charged with money-laundering and living off the earnings of prostitutes.