To attract attention, brothels were displaying large street number plates, and the area became known as "Big Number Brothels".Andrew and Bushnell (2006) wrote extensively on the position of women in the British Empire and the Tanka inhabitants of Hong Kong and their position in the prostitution industry, catering towards foreign sailors.Most popular mainstream newspapers will carry such classifieds with a brothel guides as an insert within racing form guides.
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The more this Ordinance was enforced the more of this buying and selling of human flesh went on at the very doors of Government offices.
It is amongst these outcasts of Chinese society that the worst abuses of the Chinese system of domestic servitude exist, because that system is here unrestrained by the powers of traditional custom or popular opinion.
These were mainly in First, Second and Third Street, but also in Sheung Fung Lane, Ui on Lane and Centre Street.
In the early 1900s Spring Garden Lane and Sam Pan Street (三板街) in Wan Chai became a red-light district with western and Chinese prostitutes.
The latter, again, used to be preyed upon—till quite recently His Excellency Governor Hcnnessy stopped this fiendish practice—by informers paid with Government money, who would first debauch such women and then turn round against them charging them before the magistrate as keepers of unlicensed brothels, in which case a heavy fine would be inflicted, to pay which these women used to sell their own children, or sell themselves into bondage worse than slavery, to the keepers of the brothels licensed by Government.
Whenever a sly brothel was broken up these keepers would crowd the sheriff's office of the police court or the visiting room to the Government Lock Hospital to drive their heartless bargains, which were invariably enforced with the weighty support of the Inspectors of brothels appointed by Government under the Contagious Diseases Ordinance.This exceptional class of Chinese residents here in Hong Kong consists principally of the women known in Hong Kong by the popular nickname "ham-shui-mui" (lit.salt water girls), applied to these members of the so-called Tan-ka or boat population, the Pariahs of Cantonese society. 1730) allowed them to settle in villages in the immediate proximity of the river, but they were left by him, and remain to the present day excluded from competition for official honours, whilst custom forbids them to intermarry with the rest of the people.However, most of the commercial sex worker industry consists of women working in small, usually one room apartments, usually referred to as "one-woman brothels", the equivalent of the "walk-up brothel" in the United Kingdom.They advertise for clients through the Internet and local classifieds.These Tan-ka people of the Canton river are the descendants of a tribe of aborigines pushed by advancing Chinese civilisation to live on boats on the Canton river, being for centuries forbidden by law to live on shore. These Tan-ka people were the secret but trusty allies of foreigners from the time of the East India Company to the present day.