Police arrest China sex slave suspect

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

The man, 34-year-old firefighter Li Hao, reportedly dug two rooms beneath a basement he bought in Luoyang city, Henan.

The Southern Metropolis Daily said Li, who is married and has a son, confessed to buying the 20-square-meter basement four years ago.

Agence France Presse reported that Li spent two weeks a month with his captives, telling his wife that he had a night job as a guard.

He was caught when one of his captives escaped and alerted the police. The Authorities confirmed on Friday they had arrested Li on September 6.

An unnamed officer in Luoyang told AFP by telephone:

Li has been arrested and brought to justice. We are still on the case and investigations continue.

The Southern Metropolis Daily said Li raped the women repeatedly, and gave them food every two days to keep them weak.

Quoting the Chinese paper, the BBC reported:

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.

The woman then led police to the basement, where three more women were discovered. The bodies of two women were found buried in a shallow grave in the corner of the cellar.

Reports say a preliminary investigation showed the women had been killed within the last year.

The case is the second of its kind to hit China since February, when 40-year-old Zeng Qiangbao was sentenced to death for kidnapping, and raping two teenage girls in an underground cell in the central Hubei province.

Zeng later won an appeal against his death sentence.