Prostitutes, patrons arrested and on public parade in southern China

Chinese police put about 90 prostitutes and their clients on show in a southern economic boomtown, in an apparent attempt to highlight efforts to clean up the city ahead of a top leader's visit, reports said Thursday.

Thousands of onlookers in the city of Shenzhen just across the border from Hong Kong Wednesday crowded around two popular entertainment districts cordoned off by police, where about 89 men and women lined up to be identified by name and had their offenses publicly read out, the Apple Daily reported.

The alleged offenders 11 of whom were from Hong Kong were lined up alongside one another with a police officer standing behind each of them, photographs published on the paper's front page showed, reports AP.

Standing under a banner that read "public meeting to combat and punish vice", each of the men and women wore a surgical mask to cover their faces. All wore uniform yellow T-shirts with black pants or blue track suits.

Police read out the names, dates of birth and hometowns of each of the people arrested, then announced that they would be detained for 15 days for prostitution or patronizing prostitutes, the report said.

The crackdown was likely a gesture to please Wu Bangguo, the ruling Communist Party's No. 2 leader, ahead of his visit to Hong Kong this weekend.

The parade was part of a large-scale operation involving 3,000 police officers to crack down on vice in the city, the Beijing-backed Wen Wei Po reported.

Over the past few days, police have arrested a total of 167 people and closed down 79 entertainment venues, the report said.