"Party villa" with no hotel license taken down

Police in suburban Songjiang District detained the operator of a villa with no hotel license, announcing a crackdown on illegal hotel services.

Police in suburban Songjiang District detained the operator of a villa with no hotel license on Thursday, announcing a crackdown on illegal hotel services.

Short-term villas for lease to events such as house parties are increasingly available in Shanghai, but many don’t possess a hotel license, even though they literally operate as such, police said yesterday.

Police in suburban Songjiang District detained the operator of one such venue on Thursday.

The operator, a man surnamed Gao, ran the business at 935 and 975 Thames Town, which is a well-known and stylish multi-functional property in Songjiang New City.

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According to the venue’s advertisement on the internet, the 500-square-meter, four-story villa with an underground floor allowed up to 50 guests and could sleep up to 20.

The villa charged 3,280 yuan (US$492) from Monday to Thursday and up to 5,980 yuan over the weekend for fewer than 30 guests who can choose between staying from 10am to 8pm or from 3pm to 9am the next day.

A fire broke out in the villa in the early morning on July 4 when there were 10 guests, though no one was injured, police said.

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The interior of the villa after the fire in July.

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The interior of the villa before the fire.

The villa, which Gao rents from the owner, was operated under his company but was never registered as a hotel, nor was the identity information of the guests ever left at the venue, which posed an enormous danger to public safety, according to police.

Gao is now under detention for illegally running a business which requires permits from the police.


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