A couple in the Chinese city of Nanjing have been arrested for running a gay bar offering male prostitutes, still a rarity in China, the Beijing Legal Times reports. The prostitutes, who were heterosexual and were chosen for their youthful appearance, were pressured into having sex with the clients because the bar owners refused to return deposits they had to pay to work in the club, the Times said. The bar owners were so bold that they ran advertisements in local newspapers seeking "male public relations" staff--a pseudonym for prostitutes. Each prostitute could earn 200 yuan ($24) per client, but part of the payment was taken by the bar owners.
In a society where many gay men and lesbians remain closeted--and, like the male bar owner, marry and lead straight lives to avoid social ridicule--the demand for male prostitutes is high. In just a matter of months, the bar owners earned 124,700 yuan ($15,000), and business at the bar was booming, the report said. Police arrested the couple on August 17. If convicted, they face a possible sentence of five to 10 years behind bars.