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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 December, 2003, 11:50 GMT
China jails orgy organisers
Zhuhai  International Conference Hotel
The alleged sex party took place in a Zhuhai hotel in September
A Chinese court has sentenced two people to life in prison for organising an orgy involving hundreds of Japanese tourists and Chinese prostitutes.

Twelve other people were given up to 15 years jail for the incident, which took place in southern China in September.

China asked Interpol to issue detention warrants for three Japanese its alleges took part in the three-day event.

It caused outrage in China, in part because it coincided with the anniversary of a sensitive 1931 attack.

PLANNING THE ORGY
Japanese construction company employee Hirobe Isao requests meeting with hotel in March
He and two colleagues sign agreement for sex party with hotel's manager in August
Hotel asks two prostitutes to arrange women
Orgy takes place on 16-18 September
Source: Xinhua news agency

Ye Xiang and Ming Zhu, a hotel employee and a prostitute, were sentenced to life imprisonment, and had their property confiscated, Xinhua news agency said.

Liu Xuejing and Zhang Junying, also a hotel worker and a prostitute respectively, were sentenced to 15 years and 12 years' imprisonment respectively, and both were also fined.

Another 10 defendants were sentenced to prison terms of between two and 10 years in addition to fines.

According to earlier Chinese news reports, the alleged orgy took place in Zhuhai International Conference Hotel and involved up to 400 Japanese tourists.

Japanese reaction

No Japanese people have been charged over the incident so far.

However, Xinhua news agency said China had asked the international police organisation Interpol to issue "red notices" which can be used to detain suspects pending extradition.

Xinhua identified the three Japanese suspects as Hirobe Isao, Takahashi Shunji and Fukunaga Koji, all employees of an Osaka-based construction company.

It is not clear where these men are now, although Xinhua had said that all the Japanese tourists left China on 18 September.

Japan has no extradition treaty with China, and an official with Japan's National Policy Agency told Reuters news agency that although Japan was a member of Interpol, it was not obliged to agree to its requests.

How to deal with the suspects would have to be decided through diplomatic negotiations, the official said.

Xinhua said that according to the hearing, Hirobe Isao contacted the hotel in March to arrange a meeting, but it had to be postponed due to the Sars crisis.

He came to Zhuhai at the end of August along with Takahashi Shunji and Fukunaga Koji for talks with hotel manager Liu Xuejing, during which sexual services were requested and an agreement signed, Xinhua said.

Ye Xiang, another hotel employee, then contacted prostitutes Ming Zhu and Zhang Junying, who later gathered a group of prostitutes from a number of entertainment outlets, according to the agency.

Investigations indicated no party or government officials in Zhuhai were involved but 15 officials in the local public security and tourist administration departments had been disciplined for negligence, Xinhua quoted government sources as saying.

The BBC's correspondent in Beijing, Louisa Lim, says the length of the sentences handed down by the court in the southern city of Zhuhai indicates the depth of public anger over this case.

The timing of the orgy sparked widespread anger in China, where many people feel Japan has failed to atone for its wartime brutality.

The orgy ended on 18 September, the anniversary of Japan's occupation of China and many Chinese people believe it was deliberately timed to humiliate China.

Our correspondent says postings on internet bulletin boards say that more than three Japanese should stand trial in connection with the case, and they have also renewed calls for a boycott of Japanese goods.


SEE ALSO:
Japan investigates China 'orgy'
07 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific
China hides shame over orgy
03 Oct 03  |  Asia-Pacific
China hotel 'orgy' sparks fury
28 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
China nets million Japan protests
18 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific


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