Four middle-aged Wuhan women were arrested on June 26 for running an online brothel that was staffed with imaginary prostitutes that looked like Japanese AV starlets.
The women had been running a group on the QQ social platform that swindled men into paying for prostitutes that didn’t exist. Victims were targeted throughout China, but were mostly male factory workers in Guangdong between the ages of 20 and 30.
The women behind the ring were all from the same family, in their 40s, and only had primary school educations.
Police were first made aware of the sex ring when a man named Jiang reported to the Ailian police in Shenzhen last May that he had been cheated out of RMB 7,500 when attempting to buy sex online.
The subsequent police investigation found a sophisticated organization with each member assigned specific tasks. The women were using 17 phones to communicate with their clients, sometimes using voice-alteration software to conceal their voices.
Having attracted clients though their QQ group, the women used pornography to further entice their victims and set up the scam. Photographs of Japanese AV starlets, stewardesses, and models were used as stand-ins.
The sex ring charged clients RMB 400 for a young married woman, more for a schoolgirl, and RMB 1,000 for a model. After receiving payment up front, the women would then call their clients and ask for another RMB 2,000 as a deposit in order to ensure the safety of their workers and that the men weren’t undercover police officers.
“Most of the victims realized they had been cheated at this stage,” said a police officer, surnamed Wang.
“But when the men who had paid a deposit demanded a refund, the suspects would demand the victim spend 6,800 yuan to 8,800 yuan on a membership card.”
One victim from Henggang, Longgang District was cheated out of RMB 22,000.
After being transported to Shenzhen, the women have all confessed to their crimes and are in criminal detention.