Updated: 2012-08-09 19:59
A civil servant in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, allegedly had sex with at least three underage boys, according to Yangcheng Evening News.
Li Jun, an official from the Guangzhou Bureau of Civil Affairs, reportedly got in touch with the boys through QQ, a popular instant messaging tool in China that spreads users' anonymous messages among other users.
Li allegedly lured the boys to his apartment to have sex and gave them money afterward.
Police told Guangzhou Daily that Li has more than 160 boys under 13-years-old on his QQ friend list.
The case has aroused public attention over the lack of regulation on similar instant messaging apps, which may be taken advantage of by criminals.
The police took Li into custody on July 4. The local procuratorate will decide by Friday whether to give authorization for arrest.
The father of a victim surnamed Su told Southern Metropolis Daily that his son received the randomly spread QQ message from Li at the end of last year and was tempted by Li to have sex six times in half a year.
According to Su, Li gave Su's son 200 yuan ($31) every time and bought the boy a laptop worth about 20,000 yuan, along with an iPhone and an iPad. He also gave the boy a large department store's gift card containing 1,000 yuan.
Li may be charged with molesting children but not rape because, according to China's laws, the victim of a rape crime is female, Zhong Wendong, deputy director of the criminal law committee of the Guangdong Lawyers Association, told Nanfang Daily.
According to lawyer Zhu Guanghui from Guangdong Bofang Law Firm, Li could be sentenced to five years in prison at most.
Guangzhou Bureau of Civil Affairs, where Li worked, declined to talk about Li's case because "the bureau knows little about Li's private life", according to Yangcheng Evening News.