A Chinese man has been arrested on suspicion of killing two nightclub hostesses and keeping another four women as sex slaves in a basement dungeon, police said Friday.
Reports said that Li Hao, a 34-year-old former firefighter who is married and has a son, allegedly held the women for years in a 20-square-metre (215-square-foot) underground prison he built in central China's Luoyang city.
The Southern Metropolis Daily said he had confessed to buying the basement four years ago and spending nights digging the prison four meters (yards) under the basement, where he spent two weeks a month with his captives.
Li had told his wife he had a night job as a guard, the paper said. He was caught earlier this month when one of his captives escaped and went to the police.
"Li has been arrested and brought to justice," a police officer in Luoyang told AFP by telephone.
"We are still on the case and investigations continue," added the officer, who declined to give his name.
"The case has shocked the whole city," local resident Tian Yichen told the Global Times English-language daily.
"The building is in the downtown area, and only three kilometers (1.8 miles) away from the Luoyang public security bureau."
A preliminary investigation reportedly showed that the two bodies the police found in the dungeon on September 6 had been killed within the last year.
Journalist Ji Xugang of the Southern Metropolis Daily, the first newspaper to report the case, told the Global Times he was interrogated by local police over his story.
"They believed that the report tarnished their image. But this is a typical crime. The public needs to know the truth," he said.