Are you sure the fish special is all you want?

Malaysian brothels go undercover, using restaurants and homes as fronts.

By Jack Boulware
July 21, 2000 11:30PM (UTC)
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If you're thinking of visiting a hooker the next time you visit Malaysia, there's something you should know. These days, more and more johns in that country are strolling into restaurants and family homes to purchase their illicit sexual services. That's because, according to local vice police, prostitution rings have moved away from cities and are now using phony facades to house their thriving bordellos.

One such business in Cheras, the Restoran Fire Phoenix, looked and operated for all the world like a regular family restaurant -- that is, until the city's anti-vice unit raided the place last week, discovering the building to be a hotbed of sin. The first floor contained a bar and a karaoke lounge, and the second floor was divided into four bedrooms, where the term "dessert" obviously had another meaning entirely.

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Eight prostitutes and 26 clients were arrested, along with seven restaurant workers who apparently were aware of the additional items on the menu.

In a similar bust, another operation was discovered to be operating from a three-bedroom family apartment in Gombak. Seven Thai women were taken into custody, along with 10 clients. According to local police, this business had used unprecedented degrees of camouflage. "The operators went to great trouble to disguise the apartment as a family home," city anti-vice chief Abdul Halim Yahya told news sources. "They left several pairs of children's shoes outside the apartment to hoodwink people."

Police are urging citizens of Malaysia to report any similar suspicious behavior and activities, especially at apartments with children's shoes outside the door. And actual family homes, where children's shoes are often placed outside, should be prepared for strange men to come knocking.


Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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