Two hotel workers were sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday while twelve others got prison terms of up to 15 years.

The Chinese police has also asked Interpol to help find three Japanese nationals suspected of soliciting sex workers for the orgy, which coincided with the 72nd anniversary of the start of Japan's occupation of China, the Xinhua news agency said.

The sex spree in September, at a five-star hotel in Zhuhai in the southern province of Guangdong, involved hundreds of Japanese tourists and Chinese sex workers.

The case triggered public outrage in China, where considerable hostility exists towards Japan since millions were killed or wounded during 14 years of Japanese occupation before and during World War Two.

The two people sentenced to life imprisonment  - Ye Xiang and Ming Zhu - worked at the hotel where the orgy took place.

The other 12 defendants got jail terms between two to 15 years for "organising prostitution and or assisting the organisation of prostitution", Xinhua said.

Officials censured

Fifteen officials with Zhuhai's police and the tourism bureau for negligence were also censured.

Chinese prosecutors issued warrants for the arrest of Hirobe Isao, Takahashi Shunji and Fukunaga Koji and police asked Interpol to issue "red notices" on them, the news agency said.

The notice is not an arrest warrant but can be used by police to detain someone pending extradition.

Prostitution is technically illegal in China but has become rife in the past two decades after economic reforms brought prosperity.

The Japanese construction company whose workers were reported to have been most involved said some employees were in the hotel at the time, but denied there had been an orgy.