Fri, Aug 30, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Last brothel closes after death of owner

By William Hetherington  /  Staff writer, with CNA

A woman sits outside the “Pine Moon House” brothel in Yilan County’s Luodong Township on March 19.

Photo: Chang Yi-chen, Taipei Times

The nation’s last legal brothel has closed after its owner, a woman surnamed Chang Liu (張柳), passed away.

The brothel in Kangle Alley in Yilan County’s Luodong Township (羅東) had operated legally under a county bylaw.

After Chang Liu’s passing, police immediately filed for the cancelation of the brothel’s permit and requested that the county government revoke the bylaw.

The permit was canceled on Jan. 1, but the bylaw remained in effect pending a county councilors’ meeting, which was held on Wednesday, Yilan County Police Commissioner Hsieh Chin-hsien (謝進賢) said.

After the meeting, councilors in a statement said that the rule has been abolished in accordance with Article 23 of the bylaw, which stipulates that it should be revoked once the last remaining brothel closes.

Kangle Alley was historically viewed as a “men’s paradise,” a resident said, adding that the 1970s were the golden age for the local sex industry, with brothels opening at 6am and by evening welcoming an endless stream of clients.

As brothels cannot be sold or relocated, permits were canceled after owners passed away, they said.

After the government stopped issuing permits, the number of brothels declined until only four remained in 2010, each employing four or five sex workers with an average age of about 50, the resident said.

“A brothel would need to serve at least 10 clients per day just to pay the bills,” they added.

Brothels in the alley would charge a set rate of NT$600 per transaction, but clients would sometimes haggle the price down to NT$500 and the brothels would be pressed to comply, they said.

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