Are these what were known as "big number" brothels ?
Sam Pan Street still exist and it is in the neighbourhood of Chun Yuen Street. You might be right on that as that's used to be one of the areas in Wanchai with lots of Brothels.
All I know from my younger days was that the Chun Yuen Street/Tai Yuen Street area used to be under the control of some local Triad Societies. It's not a surprise for them to control Brothels as well. What I heard was that there were illegal casinos (and legal mahjong schools), opium dens and their own hitman clubs in the disguise of martial arts societies.
My 2 cents,
I can't remember where this information came into my mind, it might be one of those books written by Cheng Po Hung. I was told people could actually tell a brothel not just from the 'Dai Number' but also from the washing hanging on balconies upstairs. In other words, 'showing your laundry' was a way to advertise.
Click on your area of interest to choose from over 17,000 pages about old Hong Kong:
Or choose a popular article:
Upgrade notice: The Gwulo website has recently been upgraded. For details of progress, or to report any problems, please click here. A copy of the pre-upgrade website is still available at http://old.gwulo.com.