A man in central China was sentenced to death on Friday for keeping six women in a dungeon as sex slaves and his role in the killing of two of them.
Li Hao, 35, was convicted on charges of murder, rape, organized prostitution, illegal detention and spreading pornography for profit by the Luoyang Intermediate People''s Court in Henan Province.
The court said Li dug the dungeon himself under the basement he bought in Luoyang in August 2009 just to lock up women he tricked into coming to his place.
The women had been held there for two to 21 months, according to police investigations.
The court said Li repeatedly raped the women, forced them to appear in obscene web shows from March to April 2011 and forced them to have sex with customers for a few days from late August to early September last year.
Li's secret dungeon was discovered after one of the women fled from the forced prostitution and reported the situation to police.
In a twist in the case, three of the women locked up by Li, surnamed Duan, Jiang, Zhang, were also found guilty of murder.
They killed two women in the dungeon under Li's instruction and in one case, under his coercion, the court said, adding that they were given leniency for committing crimes under such circumstances.
Duan, who was found to have killed two women, was sentenced to three years in prison, while the other two were put on probation, according to the court.
According to details on the case revealed by police, Li's motive was to make money by forcing the women into prostitution or to appear in obscene web shows.
The man, a clerk for Luoyang's technological supervision bureau, was married and had an eight-month-old son when he was arrested in September last year.
The women had worked at karaoke bars, hair salons and a massage shop prior to being kidnapped, a previous police probe shows.
After the appalling details of the case were exposed, the police chief of Luoyang apologized last year for failing to detect the crime earlier and suspended the work of four police in relation to the case.