County dims red light, shuts last legal brothel

TAIPEI Sat Sep 6, 2008 8:58am EDT

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TAIPEI (Reuters) - Authorities in central Taiwan have turned off the red light at the county's last legal brothel after the death of its pimp aged 87, newspapers said on Friday.

Ai-Le was the last legal brothel in Nantou county in central Taiwan, and police revoked its permit because the 48-year-old business could not be transferred, the Liberty Times reported.

Prostitution has been illegal in Taiwan since 1997, and licensing of new brothels stopped in 1974, but isolated illegal brothels can be found all over the island. Brothels licensed prior to 1974 were allowed to keep operating.

The closure effectively leaves Ai-Le's two prostitutes, aged 40 and 50, jobless, the paper added.

A photo in the newspaper shows Ai-Le as a building with a pink flower-print facade, rimmed by a tattered roof.

"Actually, with this sort of thing, there's no real loss," township government Secretary-General Liang Wen-teh told Reuters. "The brothels may have legal permits, but that doesn't mean all the people inside are legal."

(Reporting by Ralph Jennings, editing by Miral Fahmy)

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