NANNING - All 14 prostitutes caught by the police in South China's Nanning city in a recent raid turned out to be men, a police officer said on Tuesday.
"After investigation, we found some of the prostitutes underwent a sex-change operation, and some were homosexuals," said a deputy director of the Xingning branch of Nanning police bureau surnamed Huang, who declined to give his full name.
All of the prostitutes have been released after interrogation, Huang said.
The prostitutes were caught on Saturday evening after dozens of plainclothes police officers and patrol officers, divided into three groups, launched a sudden raid on the busy area near Chaoyang Road, according to the local Nanguo Morning Post.
Despite heavy make-up and long wigs, their big Adam's apples and low voices revealed their sex.
"I just like to dress like a woman on the street and meet male strangers, who flirt with me and call me a 'mistress'. What's wrong with it?" said one of the prostitutes, when questioned by the police, according to the newspaper.
Another prostitute told the police that he has wanted to be a girl since he was a child, and he came to Nanning to become a prostitute after having breast enhancement and a nose job a year ago.
He earns 100 yuan ($16) for each deal, and none of his customers knew he was a man, the newspaper reported.
"If these prostitutes are caught prostituting, they should also be punished the same way as women prostitutes, according to the law," said Tang Hongxin, a criminal-law expert at Beijing Ying Ke Law Firm.
This was not the first time these prostitutes were caught, and the residents living near the area who were harassed by the prostitutes complained to the police many times before, Huang said.
"Since these prostitutes are men, they should be arrested for swindling and disturbing social order if they are caught prostituting," said Tang Huiji, a resident of Nanning.
However, some people have a different attitude.
"Since (the male prostitutes) can keep doing business, there must be a demand for this service, and there is nothing we can do about it," said Tan Xulin, another resident in the city.