ZHENGZHOU - The police chief of a Central Chinese city on Saturday made a public apology for failing to detect earlier the secret dungeon where a man kept young women as "sex slaves" for almost two years and murdered two of them.
Guo Congbin, director of the public security bureau of Luoyang in Henan province, told a police meeting with the media present that the case showed that community safety patrols were weak and police officers had lost their sense of responsibility.
"As the police chief, I bear the responsibility," Guo said, adding that he had suspended the work of four district police officials in relation to the case.
Police investigators earlier said Li Hao, the 34-year-old married suspect who has a son, forced six women held as "sex slaves" into prostitution and to feature in porno videos uploaded on the Internet to make money.
Li said he dug two underground rooms in a basement he bought in a residential compound two years ago wanting to enter the lucrative business of running porno websites, according to police.
Police said Li regularly raped the women, held from two months to 21 months, and forced them to perform porn shows and prostitution.
Two women who fought back were tortured, and eventually killed, police added. Their bodies were only found on September 3 when police raided the basement on a tip off from relatives of one of Li's "sex slaves" who managed to escape.
The report of Southern Metropolis Daily, which first broke the news, said the women, both nightclub attendants, had been dead for months but police have not yet confirmed that.
Li, who works for Luoyang's technological supervision bureau, had been taken into custody.
Police also detained the four surviving women for "alleged crime involvement" after the newspaper report said that while competing to survive in the dungeon, they might have helped Li to murder the other two.
In a similar gruesome case six years ago, 13 women who had worked in karaoke bars and small restaurants in neighboring Shandong Province were murdered by four men. Their bodies, buried along a riverbank in remote villages, were found more than six months later.
The horrific nature of the Luoyang case has shocked the nation again, prompting local authorities to launch an overhaul of entertainment venues -- beauty parlors, karaoke halls, saunas, and Internet cafes, while boosting an "online cleansing" campaign to crack down on porn websites.
Guo, the Luoyang police chief, said the city-wide safety overhaul will leave no "dirty spots." He said the authorities will also tend to the victims and conduct a speedy but thorough investigation.
"I beg the people of Luoyang to give us another chance. We will show you the results of our actions," Guo pledged.
In an attempt to appease those angry over the limited details made public about the case, Guo admitted that police had not cooperated as well as they should have with media.