One-woman brothels sprouting in Tin Hau

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 November, 2004, 12:00am

Councillors complain about red-light workers in Victoria Park

Sex workers are invading old buildings in Tin Hau and setting up one-woman brothels.

The trend has prompted residents and neighbourhood representatives in the mainly middle-class, low-crime area to warn that there are signs of it turning into a red-light district.

District councillors have complained that some prostitutes are even plying their trade in Victoria Park during the daytime among elderly men who frequent the park.

'There have been so many complaints, I have lost count,' said Jennifer Chow Kit-bing. 'Most complaints have to do with one-woman brothels. I have also heard about women who work their trade in Victoria Park, mostly from people who exercise at the park.

'I suspect [prostitutes] may be spilling over from North Point and also Causeway Bay. One problem is that on weekends and Sundays, the park is crowded with people from different walks of life and nationalities, so it's very complicated.'

A brothel flat is now operating on top of Ms Chow's former office in Wing Hing Street.

One-woman brothels are advertised daily in Chinese-language newspapers, which list their addresses and contacts. Those in Tin Hau are becoming almost as common as the ones in Shau Kei Wan, North Point and Wan Chai - old districts on Hong Kong Island where such vice activities have traditionally been concentrated.

Some Russian and eastern European women have also been seen occasionally buying contraceptives from a neighbourhood drugstore next to Villa Victoria, an hourly rental motel, across from the entrance to Tin Hau MTR station.

Up on the hill in Tin Hau Temple Road is the famous Friday Club, which offers male hosts for women.

Another council member, Choy So-yuk, said the trend was difficult to counter because many old buildings in the area had no owners' associations to impose access control by hiring security guards or installing electronically controlled gates.

'They are a nuisance but unfortunately one-woman brothels are not illegal,' said Ms Choy, who is also a legislator.

'We advise residents to install security guards and cameras. Brothel clients like to be inconspicuous so they won't visit if you have a security guard to take down ID card numbers for visitors.

A spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department said it had not received complaints about prostitutes but could not rule out the possibility.

'It's a phenomenon not unknown in some public parks where elderly men are teased and propositioned by the ladies,' he said.

The department said staff had been instructed to tell anyone disturbing park users to leave.

'If a suspicion of immoral business is justified, we would call the police for assistance.'

Police said it had no arrest figures for Tin Hau and Victoria Park because the statistics covered the whole of North Point.