Chinese authorities have said the four Indian businessmen detained in Shanghai following a prostitution raid on their hotel will spend at least 10 days in administrative detention and will likely face deportation.

The businessmen, who were part of a 100-member delegation to attend a motor and bicycle fair in the city, are unlikely to receive jail time, Indian officials said on Sunday. Officials from the Indian Consulate in Shanghai will be granted consular access to the four on Wednesday, following a three-day national holiday during which most government offices here remain closed.

The four were detained after staff at the Shanghai hotel where they were staying reportedly alerted police that they had arranged for a prostitute in their hotel room, sources said. They were detained following a raid on their room. The businessmen could not be reached for comment to verify the version of events put forward by Chinese police authorities who briefed Indian officials.

In addition to a 10-day detention, the four businessmen are likely to face deportation and a ban on travelling to China. Indian officials said they hoped the case would serve as a warning to visiting Indian businessmen and tourists. China-based Indian companies are briefed regularly by Indian officials on Chinese laws. Prostitution is illegal in China, although sex workers are known to approach foreigners in areas popular with tourists in large metropolises such as Shanghai.

“This is by no means the first such case we have seen in Shanghai,” one official said, adding that in earlier instances those caught were given week-long sentences and then deported. There had been at least a dozen similar cases reported in southern Chinese cities.

“Many Indian businessmen who come to China are even unaware that this is illegal here,” the official said. In Shanghai and other cities, massage parlours offering illegal services operate openly — often in the vicinity of police stations — and are widely known to have ties with local enforcement agencies.

“We tell businessmen that when they break the law, whatever the circumstances are, there is little we can do to help them,” another official said.

An Indian businessman who has been based in China for several years said such cases involving visiting Indian businessmen were “an embarrassment” and “reflected poorly on Indian businessmen who come here for business.”

Chinese authorities routinely conduct raids targeting prostitution rings that operate out of hotels. Foreigners caught in raids are rarely sentenced, and are usually deported after serving a few weeks' detention in local detention centres.

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