BEIJING -- Authorities have detained a former official in a central Chinese city for allegedly raping more than 10 girls.

Officials in Yongcheng city referred queries Sunday to a statement by the city government that said Li Xingong confessed during a police interrogation. It said Li was detained Friday.

Li was deputy director of the city's Communist Party committee's general office.

The statement said an investigation is continuing and Li will be "severely and swiftly punished" according to relevant laws.

The case is being widely discussed on China's popular Twitter-like site, Sina Weibo, with many users expressing outrage against the former official.

The state-run Hangzhou Daily newspaper said Li was caught "committing the crime" by police on May 8 in front of a middle school in Yongcheng city. It did not elaborate on what Li was doing.

It said police searched his office and car and found information related to the case.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.