SHANGHAI, China - Chinese police shut down an audio-book porn operation and the country's biggest audio-material website Monday, arresting four people, including the general manager.
Authorities raided iListen.cn and charged suspects with producing pornographic audio books and selling them online. They were accused of "spreading pornography and harming the morals of young people."
Three were arrested at the building, while a fourth, a woman from Shangong province, police said, was caught in Beijing, suspected of being one of a number of woman who recorded the porn audio books, according to the Shanghai Daily.
iListen.cn -- now closed -- offered audio content throughout China, with more then a half-million registered users. The general manager arrested claims the director of the company's technical department ordered him to increase site traffic by offering porn book downloads, which led to a feed called "Night Talk."
Police said the "Night Talk" stories received 2 million hits last year and were downloaded 260,000 times. Users paid per episode and the site earned more than more than 40,000 yuan (U.S. $5,860) with 17 pornographic audio books featuring 953 episodes.
"Most websites in Shanghai know that porn production is a line you can never cross," Officer Fu Bin told the Shanghai Daily. "But in this case, suspects thought porn audio was hard to detect. Traditional porn content, including videos, photos and search terms, are easy for censors to find and block."
The website paid different Chinese female broadcasters 40 yuan an hour to read the porn tales, and customers were encouraged to upload their own explicit stories and offered a percentage of profits, reports the China Daily.
Chinese official Qu Weifang of a public information security division, called the Web porn books, "potentially hazardous to the online community with its unhealthy audio documents designed to attract visitors and increase earnings."
He added the country's anti-porn Internet crackdown, which began at the beginning of the year, will continue.
"We will step up efforts to examine audio-book websites to ensure a healthy online environment," he said.
The Chinese government is also targeting cellphone websites, chatrooms and instant-messaging groups to purge "obscene content."
More than 1,900 websites have been shut down, according to China's national Internet regulator, while some 500 service producers and 160,000 sites based in Shanghai alone have been told to ramp-up their security or face severe scrutiny.