Shortly after clearing Ma Shi Po farmland this week, Henderson Land appeared to have scored another success in taking possession of a landmark building notorious for housing sex workers.
To be fair, the aptly named Champagne Court is no longer a beacon in the Tsim Sha Tsui red light district where prostitutes lived and provided sexual favors.
In fact, the building believed to be 70 percent owned by Lee Shau-kee’s property flagship is awaiting renovation.
Apple Daily is reporting that water supply to the Kimberly Street premises has been cut, driving down daily rates in its hostels to HK$300 (US$38.66).
(If you ask me, that’s a clever way to force unwanted tenants from the building.)
The 59-year-old building has seen its heyday as a sex haven thanks to “one-woman brothels” which proliferated in the 1980s.
In the following decade, mainland sex workers began to take up subdivided flats in the building, turning them into pink-walled love nests.
Because of its proximity to The Mira hotel, another Henderson Land property, the eight-story Champagne Court and its 157 apartments have had their share of good tourist business.
Some people say the love hostels were mainly on the second and fourth floors. Others remember them to be practically everywhere.
(We are unable to independently confirm this.)
Five years ago, Champagne Court was in the news after Chan Ka-wai, then secretary of the Democratic Party, was pictured on the premises, leading to his abrupt resignation, ostensibly to save the party from embarrassment.
Until now, Henderson Land is refusing to declare its designs on Champagne Court after saying it’s only one of many landlords in the building
At present, the building has an eclectic tenant mix, with a fading prostitution business, and could be folded into a planned redevelopment of The Mira.
In that sense, Lee Shau-kee — Uncle Four to you — is lucky. He does not have to face heritage activists or rights groups protesting to save the building.
Neither have there been reports of masked sex workers and their supporters picketing the building.
We have yet to hear how the menfolk are taking all this.
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