China's eastern province of Jiangsu pays its police officers a pittance, barely enough to survive on. At least that's what recent reports from Shanghai's Xinmin Evening News would have us believe. Why else would local cops open up their own brothel, then arrest the customers and take cash bribes? The scam was revealed this month when a deputy police chief finally confessed to the operation.
It began innocently enough. Lishui County police substation deputy chief Gao Mingliang scraped together 6,000 yuan (about $725 U.S.) and set up a police-sanctioned house of assignation, disguised as a restaurant. The system worked thus: Ladies of questionable repute would lure clients into the back rooms of the eatery and, as luck would have it, suddenly the police would burst in, arrest the customers and drag them down to the substation, where the unsuspecting patrons would then be fined. This scenario continued from May to August 1999, during which time the police tallied up more than 80,000 yuan (about $9,600 U.S.).
The hookers pulled down profits as well, said the newspaper: "Depending on how much money the police station pulled in, they would issue a performance bonus to the girls."
The cop cathouse might never have been discovered had it not been for a pesky neighboring police substation, which busted the joint, arrested the man listed as owner of the restaurant and sent him away to a year in a labor camp. While cooling his heels doing hard labor, the restaurant owner grew more and more irritated. The scam hadn't been his idea -- it was the police who were responsible! He petitioned high-level Chinese officials about his predicament, and upon further investigation, deputy police chief Gao's role in the scam was finally brought to light. Gao confessed, and this month a Nanjing District Court sentenced him to one year in prison.