A man in eastern China was sentenced to death on Thursday for the serial rapes of 16 underage girls, some of whom he met online while posing as a teenage girl himself, state news agency Xinhua reported, a crime which shocked the nation.
Wang Yong, 40, was arrested in 2012 in Anhui province and charged with raping the girls, who ranged in age from 12 to 16, over a period beginning in 2009, the report said.
"Unemployed Wang posed as females on social communications networks such as QQ and WeChat to befriend schoolgirls, and coerced them to meet him. His victims were taken to hotels, where he raped them," Xinhua added.
Earlier this month, a court jailed his accomplice, also an underage girl, for three years, the report said.
Xinhua said his accomplice had claimed she was coerced by Wang to seek out victims for him.
While death sentences these days are automatically appealed for approval by the Supreme Court, Wang is likely to be executed given the nature of his crimes.
In January, China executed a man who held six women as sex slaves in an underground prison and killed two of them.