An influential businessman in central China was executed on Tuesday for the rape of 25 underage girls.
From June 2015 to January 2017, Zhao Zhiyong, 49, victimized minors from four middle schools in Weishi county, Henan province with the help of several accomplices.
Zhao served as chairman of Tianyuan Flour Products, the deputy head of the Kaifeng Chamber of Commerce and a representative of the Kaifeng People’s Congress, according to The Paper.
He coerced a woman named Li Na into scouting “young female students,” some of whom went on to find more for him.
14 of Zhao’s victims were under the age of 14 — China’s age of consent regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.
Under Chinese law, having sex with girls under 14 is statutory rape, a crime that carries a sentence of 10 years in prison to the death penalty.
According to court documents, Zhao raped his victims on 32 occasions in hotels and his residence.
To force them into sex, he beat and threatened them by taking pictures of their private parts.
Ahead of his exposure, Zhao is known as a charity man, having donated money and materials to local primary schools and left-behind children.
“If you have difficulties in your studies and life, you can come to us and we will do our best to help you,” he told students at one donation ceremony, according to Beijing Youth Daily.
The businessman’s activities came to light in April 2017 when a police brief containing the offenses leaked online.
On Tuesday, the Kaifeng Intermediate People’s Court posted an announcement that he had been executed after receiving a green light from the Supreme Court.
Li also received a death sentence, but with a two-year reprieve. She was also fined 60,000 yuan
Other accomplices, including her husband, who took the girls for prostitution, received an 18-year sentence. A man who also raped some of these girls was given a 12-year sentence, the South China Morning Post noted.