Portland Street

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Portland Street is a popular street in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The street is known for its business and retailing skyscraper complex Langham Place, numerous restaurants and its famous red-light district.

Contents

Geography

Running north-south and parallel to (and west of) Nathan Road, a main thoroughfare up the Kowloon peninsula, Portland Street extends through the districts of Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok in Kowloon. Approximately three-quarters of a mile in length, it spans between Bute Street in the north and one block past Waterloo Road in the south. The street is directly accessible by the Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei stations of the MTR, Hong Kong's subway system.

Except for a few small parks, the entire two-lane street is highly urbanized with dense pedestrian and motor traffic thoroughout most of the day.

Character

A section of Portland Street, particularly between Argyle Street and Dundas Street, hosts arguably Hong Kong's most famous red light district (serving mostly local Chinese clientele) and a popular scene in Hong Kong films. There, underneath a dizzying and chaotic array of neon signs, one can find prostitutes from around the world (although mostly from mainland China) serving in hundreds of massage parlours, night clubs, karaoke/hostess bars and brothels. Although prostitution is legal in Hong Kong, law enforcement is often active in this area conducting raids for prostitutes who've entered Hong Kong illegally or have overstayed their visas or to search for underaged prostitutes, pimps, human traffickers and triad activities.

Langham Place, a 167,000 square meter (1.8 million square foot) shopping centre, theatre, hotel and office tower complex opened on Portland Street near the Nelson Street intersection in July 2004. The complex has its own MTR station access (Mong Kok station exit C3). Outside one of the complex's east entrances is a large jumbotron broadcasting news and entertainment shows for pedestrians below. Since its opening, Langham Place and surrounding areas has become a popular night-time destination for both locals and tourists. Some had predicted the massive upscale development would gentrify the area and drive away the Portland Street sex trade. However, after almost two years of operation, Langham Place's impact on the nearby sex industry remains minimal.

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