Beijing Police Cracks Down On Prostitution, Gambling.....In Bathhouses.

People who stay at public bathhouses will have to check in with their identity cards under new rules designed to regulate the industry.

The Beijing News on Saturday reported police will detain bathhouse operators who admit clients who refuse to check in with their identity cards.

The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, local Bureau of Commerce, Administration for Industry and Commerce, and Health Bureau held a meeting on Friday to discuss how to regulate the public bathhouse and hotel industry.

Beijing currently has around 1,116 public bathhouses and around 700 offer lodging. They have become a haven for criminals because most bathhouses do not register their guests' ID cards. During the first ten months of 2006, police detained 920 people at 503 bathhouses for involvement in prostitution and gambling.

Local police authorities say a lot of public bathhouses run a diverse range of services outside their scope of operation, like massage, catering, performances and lodging.

The newspaper says bathhouses will have to go through licensing and registration procedures at the local administrations, including the public security bureau and the Administration for Industry and Commerce, by the end of May if they wish to offer accommodation. All bathhouses that offer lodging will be investigated in the first three weeks of June.

Public bathhouses will also be required to install closed-circuit TV surveillance systems in public areas and operators will be detained if they fail to check their guests' ID cards. Bathhouse employees will have to report any clients' who refuse to show their ID cards or who use fake ID cards to the police immediately.

Bathhouses that don't provide accommodation will not be allowed to operate between 2 am and 8 am. Violators will be fined between 1,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan.

Any bathhouses involved in prostitution, gambling or drug taking will have their licenses withdrawn.

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