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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 08:27 GMT
China sex ring teachers convicted
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Two school teachers have been sentenced to death in China for forcing more than 20 young girls - including some of their own pupils - into prostitution.

Zhao Qingmei and her husband, Chi Yao, were convicted of running a child-sex ring in the southern Guizhou province.

The girls, aged between 11 and 17, were taken to local hostels and reportedly told that their families would be poisoned if they refused to have sex.

At least 12 other people convicted of involvement received jail sentences.

They included two other teachers and the owners of hostels where the girls were taken.

The official Xinhua news agency described Zhao and Chi, from the town of Xinfa, as China's most-wanted couple.

After the sex ring was uncovered, they fled to neighbouring Sichuan province, but were arrested in August after the authorities offered a 100,000 yuan (6,700; $13,500) reward.

Bijie Intermediate Court handed down the death sentences last Friday after hearing how the couple forced 23 girls into prostitution between March and June 2006.

Six of the victims were under the age of 14.

The court was told that the child-sex ring made 32,350 yuan.

Chi's sentence was suspended for two years, and is likely to be commuted to life imprisonment.

The couple have until 24 December to appeal against the sentences.



SEE ALSO
Country profile: China
30 Nov 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: China
30 Nov 07 |  Country profiles



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