Long before director Wong Kar-wai's 1994 art-house classic Chungking Express, Chungking Mansions was known around the world - but for all the wrong reasons. The complex's dim, dirty and crowded corridors were frequented by travellers on shoestring budgets who were catered for by dozens of guesthouses. But Chungking Mansions was also a magnet for prostitutes and criminals, especially drug dealers. Poor building management has been blamed for its notoriety. Last year, a visitor from West Africa was found dead in his room, and a postmortem examination revealed he had swallowed 55 tiny bags of cocaine. Over the years, police have conducted numerous raids and made countless drug seizures in the guesthouses. In 1993, a circuit overload led to an explosion that blacked out the entire centre for 10 days. In a bid to restore order, security has now been greatly enhanced, while illegal structures have been removed. 'There were many illegal constructions inside. You would find a room in the middle of a corridor, but now they are all gone,' said the building's assistant property manager, Ko Ka-lok. But with its recent revamp, the mansions may be at risk of losing their unique charm. Following the success of Wong's movie, the complex has become a must-see for his fans, with websites pointing out the exact locations used in the film. Room rates at the guesthouses are still a bargain, according to Sam Lau Kung-shing, chairman of the Tourist Guesthouse Federation of Hong Kong, who also operates a guesthouse in the building. 'A bunk bed is only $60. Even a room as nice as those in hotels costs only $400, while most of the rooms ... are $200,' he said. 'The prices are more or less the same as in 1997. We have not increased prices as competition is keen.'