On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Go after those behind the sex syndicates

As in all poison-pen letters, there is no evidence to
back the allegations but plenty of unsubstantiated juicy bits. The writer has
remained anonymous, probably to avoid legal suits and other

Claiming that these brothels were akin to the United Nations with callgirls
from several countries, the letter bears photocopied business cards of the
''managers'' of these brothels.

The letter, accompanied by maps showing the location of these hotels, provided
details of the operating hours and even a price list.

Blondes from Uzbekistan
and other former Soviet states seem to fetch a higher price than women from Indonesia
or China.

Those named in the letters are obviously not amused. The politicians have
lodged police reports to clear their names, claiming it was a scam to tarnish
their reputations.

The poison-pen letter has been sent to Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd
Khir Toyo, who is very concerned about what is happening in the state and is
determined to embark on a clean-up.

As a start, he is ordering liquor companies to tone down on excessive
advertising, especially those showing scantily dressed women.

''If the char koay teow is really good, customers will patronise the coffee
shop irrespective of whether it has huge beer advertisements or not,'' he said.
He has a point.

Coffee-shop owners have protested against the move requiring them to seek
approval from the local government to put up liquor advertisements. Some claim
it would affect their business.

It is unlikely that their business would suffer but the coffee-shop owners may
lose sponsorship, particularly in putting up stalls and signboards.

The state government is obviously more concerned with public complaints that
budget hotels and spa centres, fronting as sex dens, are sprouting up.
Housewives claimed that their husbands patronise these brothels.

The authorities have ordered a crackdown on such outlets, particularly those
operating near residential areas.

Last year, Selangor police caught 1,842 foreign women – a three-fold jump from
605 arrested in 2001. Of those caught last year, 758 were Indonesians, 402
Chinese nationals, 310 Thais and the rest were from Myanmar,
Uzbekistan, Cambodia,
Russia, the Philippines,
Poland and Vietnam.

Ops Kelawar, launched on Dec 22 to close down entertainment outlets using guest
relation officers, is expected to intensify over the next two weeks.

The order from the state government is to revoke the licences of errant outlets,
seal the premises and cut off water and electricity supplies.

The police, who carried out 1,171 raids last year, said that only 78 of the 300
entertainment outlets in Selangor were registered. Petaling Jaya had the most
number of unlicensed outlets at 111, followed by Kajang (32), Ampang (28) and
Klang (24).

Dr Khir said that public response to anti-vice measures had been positive,
especially from parents.

In fact, Wanita MCA national chairman Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen has suggested that
colleges with a substantial number of students involved in vice should be shut

The Anti-Corruption Agency should investigate how these unregistered outlets
have managed to operate without any interference.

Ops Kelawar would be meaningless if vice syndicates are able to operate again

Anti-vice measures should be on-going and not limited to a particular period to
pacify the public. Prosecute the rogues behind these syndicates and not just
the sex workers.

Otherwise, it would give the impression that the real culprits have not been