Sex plus triads equals money. Big money.
Or is this what we have seen in a 60-year-old building in the most robust area in Tsim Sha Tsui?
This follows the high-profile arrest of two men and a woman after the police raided 10 units of Champagne Court Block B that had been turned into one-woman brothels controlled by local triads.
It turns out that the units in Kimberly Street were further divided into 54 cubicles for prostitution and that the triads were making more than HK$10 million a month.
Big business, I reckon, because that would churn in an annualised nine-digit profit on the dark side, dwarfing the twilight zone of Wan Chai and other areas.
How many retail or wholesale businesses can generate that kind of return in the tourist districts these days?
Of course, there is a simple reason. The triads do not have to pay rent to Henderson Land, the 75 per cent owner of the building which chose to leave the premises vacant.
Tycoon Lee Shau-kee is patiently waiting to get to the 80 per cent threshold before he can renovate the building to get the best commercial use for the property.
For at least two years, the building – adjacent to the luxurious Mira Hotel – was in poor condition.
Water supply was infrequent and because of that some units were leased for sex trysts for as low as HK$300 a day.
Local papers say as much as 60 per cent of the 58 apartments in the building are love nests.
But the owner chose to leave the eight-storey building this way in hopes of driving unwanted tenants away and possibly buying the unites at relatively cheap prices.
But discussions have dragged on since 2011 in the wake of a 100 per cent gain in residential prices during the period.
Champagne Court was the beacon of the red-light district in the 1980s when one-woman brothels proliferated.
In the following decade, mainland sex workers began to take up subdivided flats in the building, turning them into pink-walled love nests.
Now that the police have cleaned up the mess — everything from illegal drugs to pipes, pliers, hammers and screwdrivers – we wonder how this sexy place would ever be pricey premises again.
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