The 48 year-old honcho surnamed Yang claims to be their godmother, as the kids' parents who are working away from home, have entrusted them to her care. From Anhui province, she runs a floral shop in Chengdu. Along with a man who drives her and the children around, Yang was taken to the Wangjiang Road Police Station.
The police approached the silver Volkswagen Lavida plated AY655W parked outside Chengxin Restaurant around 9:50pm on Sunday night. Five children were in the back seat and the car boot contained five pails of roses, amounting up to 90 stalks.
"My stepfather sent me to Godmother," said a 13-year-old. From Zhongjiang, Sichuan, he followed his mother to the Chengdu suburb of Shuangliu when she remarried. He thinks he was sent away due to bad results and frequent fights in school.
"We would contact their legal guardians soon and send the kids back," said the police, which also assured that they will get to the bottom of the matter, should the incident involve abduction or coerced child labour.
About 12 policemen from Wuhou District were deployed to Zhimin Dong Lu where the five children were at that night, near the Jiuyan Qiao nightlife district. Some of Chengdu's most popular clubs such as BABI II, Sucre, and Muse are located in that area.
The police heard of the children's nightly appearance near Jiuyan Qiao from a member of the public, who was concerned about abduction.
The police observed the kids for a week and were certain that these minors were carrying out orders. They noted the kids would usually arrive at Jiuyan Qiao around half past nine and leave as late as four in the morning, after shuffling through eateries and clubs to try to sell roses to couples.
According to the police's video records, the adults remained in the car, alighting from time to time to check on the kids. It is reported that one of the boys accepted a cigarette from a security guard as seen from the police's video.
There are four boys and three girls involved, according to the Sichuan Online report. Two to three children will be 'on shift' each weekday whereas for weekends, five of them will be 'working'.
The police have pretended to be customers, gathering that the kids are mostly 8 to 13 years old, from nearby Xichang and Ziyang. They told the police that their parents have rented them out for RMB3,000 annually. Each child gets RMB1,000 for his own expenditure while RMB2,000 is paid to the parents.
The children have quotas to fulfil, with each stalk priced at RMB10. They make about RMB300 to RMB400 per night.