China police detain man over 'sex slaves' in basement

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Police in China have detained a man on suspicion of imprisoning and raping six women in a basement for two years and of killing two of them.

Reports said the man, 34-year-old firefighter Li Hao, had dug two rooms underneath the basement he bought in Luoyang city, Henan, four years ago.

He then kidnapped the women, all of whom are said to have worked in nightclubs or bars.

He was arrested after he let one of the women leave and she went to police.

Police confirmed that they had arrested Mr Li on 6 September and that an investigation was ongoing.

Shallow grave

The Southern Metropolis Daily reported that the women were held in a cellar four metres (12ft) below the basement in a residential district of the city.

The newspaper said that Mr Li repeatedly raped the women and only gave them food every two days to keep them weak.

The women were only allowed to leave when he needed them to sleep with other men for cash, it said, and this was how one of the women, a 23-year-old, managed to escape.

When she guided police to the basement, they found three more women.

They also found the bodies of two women buried in a shallow grave in the corner of the cellar.

Mr Li, who is reportedly married with a wife and child, was arrested as he tried to leave the city.

An official from the Luoyang public security bureau told China Daily police were conducting tests to assess his mental competence.

The journalist from the Southern Metropolis Daily who first reported the story, meanwhile, said he had been visited by two men - apparently from the local authorities - who asked for his source and warned him he had been revealing "state secrets".

"They believed that the report tarnished their image. But this is a typical crime. The public needs to know the truth," Ji Xuguang told the Global Times newspaper.

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