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By day, workers throng the small offices on the upper floors of dingy Orchard Towers, with patrons occasionally streaming in for cheap Thai food. Loud music begins to blare from a string of nightclubs from as early as 7pm, and scantily clad foreign women - some of whom are from Eastern Europe and claiming to be students - emerge from the establishments and engage in light banter with passing men. Nearby, smokers are puffing away indoors, seemingly unaware of the many fires that have plagued the mall in the past.
Behind darkened windows of seedy massage parlours - masquerading as beauty salons - are women who think nothing of tugging passers-by to lure them in for some "fun". And, just outside the complex, some 20 streetwalkers, many of whom are in Singapore on social visit passes, solicit tourists for sex, with their pimps keeping a close watch on proceedings nearby.
As the night wears on, men, clearly drunk, lie slumped on the steps even as scuffles break out around them. Catfights among the women, which may progress to hitting one another with their high-heeled shoes over customers, are also not uncommon. The complex is a notorious place and is in the spotlight again after a year-old man was murdered in a brawl earlier this month.
A Singapore brothels orchard towers has found more than 40 incidents in Orchard Towers, including murders, fights, theft, molestation and fires reported in newspapers over the years.
When The Sunday Times visited the mall a week after the latest incident, nothing much had changed for those who worked at the landmark once tagged as the "Four Floors of Whores" by travel guide Lonely Planet because of the of shady massage parlours and nightclubs. There are more than 40 such establishments in the building. The bottom five floors of the storey building house commercial units, with the rest taken up by office space.
There is also a residential block at the rear.
Some tenants gave a conservative estimate of at least one fight per week at Orchard Towers, which is notorious for vice activities. A tenant, who provides alteration services, said: "People continued their activities like nothing happened. When someone offers you so much money for a shop space that nobody wants, you would find it hard to say 'no'. Orchard Towers was once a family-oriented destination with a variety of shops ranging from florists and tailors to electronics stores and restaurants.
In the early years, there was even a cinema on the fourth floor.
In the s, nightclubs and massage parlours began popping up beside the electronics shops and tailors. By the s, many more of such sleazy ts were established, mostly because of the low rental and lack of quality control. Even the residential block at the back is not spared, with the "working girls" moving into the apartments.
But massage parlours and nightclubs usually offer the owners even more than market rate for rents because they say the location tends to attract "high-class" clientele. A property agent said: "When someone offers you so much money for a shop space that nobody wants, you would find it hard to say 'no'.
Another big reason for the less-than-ideal mix of tenants is the unsavoury reputation of the building. They are left empty for years," the agent said. Over a few nights last week, The Sunday Times had a close-up look at what happens at the complex.
By 1am, the place is packed, with heavily made-up hostesses congregating near escalators and ushering patrons to their clubs, some of which boast live cover bands. The customers are typically middle-aged foreign men, who are either alone or in small groups. The girls badger them to buy drinks, hoping for the 30 per cent commission they get for every glass. Some also offer sex for a price. We just want to earn enough and leave," said a Taiwanese masseuse, a mother of one, who has to dole out a share of her daily earnings to her "boss".
If we see drunk men or those who look like they can't pay, we won't choose them. Singapore brothels orchard towers retailer said he shuts his shop by 8pm, earlier than he would like to, due to the nocturnal activities. Some female office workers said they also try to leave before 7pm to avoid being mistaken for a prostitute. I try to leave this building before the 'devils' come," he said. When asked about the closed-circuit television CCTV cameras in his shop - he has more than five - he said: "Every shop will have a few cameras, just to be safe.
A salon owner, who has been in the building for 40 years before shutting her business two months ago, said customers were afraid to come because they would be approached. Some patrons, however, remain unfazed by the mall's bad reputation. British tourist Danny, who was accosted by four women last Thursday, said: "Everyone has been telling me the 'four floors' are a must-see attraction.
It is shocking since Singapore has a clean image. A regular patron, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chan, added that he has seen "countless" fights in the mall. Many residents, too, it would appear, are wary about moving even though they are unhappy about some of their neighbours. Residents said they would have no problems selling their units because the building, on the corner of Claymore and Orchard ro, is in Singapore's prime shopping district. The police, for instance, has increased the deployment of uniformed officers at the mall every night, he added.
Mr Yong said there is regular engagement with the stakeholders, including the building's tenants, on the area's safety and security measures, and to address public dis-amenities surfaced by the residents. ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.
We have been experiencing some problems with subscriber log-ins and apologise for the inconvenience caused. Until we resolve the issues, subscribers need not log in to access ST Digital articles. But a log-in is still required for our PDFs. By 1am, the place is packed. The first five floors of the storey building house commercial businesses, with the rest taken up by office space. Police officers at the crime scene at Orchard Towers where a year-old man was killed after a brawl earlier this month. A takeaway snack shop specialising in Nonya kueh on the third storey of Orchard Towers in Nightclubs and massage parlours began popping up in the s, and by the s, many more of such ts were established.
Calvin Yang. Share gift link below with your friends and family. Link Copied! Copy gift link. up or log in to read this article in full. up. Already have an ? Log in. Resend verification e-mail. Subscribe now. Read and win! Let's go! Frequently asked questions. Good job, you've read 3 articles today! Spin the wheel for ST Read and Win now. But, Singapore brothels orchard towers dark, the place is transformed, buzzing with sex workers and drunks. A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 14,with the headline 'Orchard Towers' fall from grace'.Singapore brothels orchard towers
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