SECURITY cameras along certain stretches of roads in Geylang have not deterred prostitutes from plying their trade there during the busy festive season.
When we visited the area last week from 11pm to 2am, about 100 working girls and their pimps thronged Lorongs 8, 10, 12 and Talma Road.
Last year, police raids drove most of them away but some have returned. One pimp told The New Paper that there are more prostitutes because business is usually good during this period.
The women seemed oblivious to the closed-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras - some with large blue signs declaring "Police camera in operation" in four languages - installed along the lanes of the red-light district.
We noticed 12 cameras from Lorong 12 to Lorong 22 Geylang. Of these, two at the junction of Talma Road and Lorong 12 Geylang were recently added.
Some have signs indicating that the cameras were in operation, while others were unmarked.
A prostitute from Indonesia, who wanted to be known only as Annie, 20, stood right beneath one of the police cameras at the junction of Lorong 12 Geylang and Talma Road last Wednesday night.
Annie arrived here with a social visit pass just in time to catch the pre-Chinese New Year crowd. Last Wednesday was her second day here.
Is she afraid of the police?
"Only checkpoint," she said in broken English, referring to the immigration officers stationed at the airport.
But she is "not scared" of the CCTV cameras, she said. She plans to leave once the festive period is over.
A prostitute from Wuhan, China, who wished to be known only as Xiuxiu, 24, said last Thursday was her second day soliciting in Geylang.
Xiuxiu, who came here on a student pass a month ago, used to work as a KTV singer at Havelock Road, but the income of $300 a night as a lounge singer was too little for her, she said.
Xiuxiu, who stationed herself along Talma Road, was not aware of the two police CCTV cameras installed at the junction. She said in Mandarin: "This is terrible. What if my face gets recognised by the police? Will I get into trouble with immigration?"
One security expert, Mr S M Jegan from Kokusai Security, said the cameras will not deter the girls.