Where Fleur used to work
- 443-453 Queen's Road West, Shek Tong Tsui
Back in the days, Shek Tong Tsui was infamously known as a red-light district, popular among both the elite and factory workers. Prostitution was legal and regulated in Hong Kong from 1879 to 1932. In the early 1930s, the city was home to around 200 legal brothels, collectively housing over 7,000 licensed prostitutes.
The four best-known brothels were based in Shek Tong Tsui; Yi Hung, Fuen Tak, Wing Lok, and Choi Fa were the most famous ones. These 'Four Kings' were luxurious bordellos; they catered to an affluent clientele and only employed high-class courtesans.
Food and fun
There's an old saying that goes, "When the belly is full, the mind is among the maids". Shek Tong Tsui wasn't just home to popular brothels but also to a handful of Hong Kong's most famous restaurants, including Kam Ling, Tao Yuan, Yi Wo, Luen Shing and Kwong Chau. These fancy eateries held banquets every night and allowed their customers to stay overnight, accompanied by prostitutes from nearby brothels. Kam Ling—the restaurant where Fleur and Chan first met—was the best-known of them all.
From seedy to sleepy
The Hong Kong Government issued a ban on prostitution in 1932, and three years later, licensed prostitution ended. However, during WWII, the Japanese military government relocated all Chinese brothels to Shek Tong Tsui. The area saw its second boom in prostitution: there were approximately 500 bordellos around town, which only served the Japanese occupiers. After the Japanese defeat, the prostitution ban returned, and Shek Tong Tsui gradually transformed into a typical Hong Kong neighbourhood. Today, you'll find elderly residents playing Chinese chess games, University of Hong Kong students hanging out near the hawker stalls, and an abundance of family-run restaurants and small shops.