Japanese prostitutes called Karayuki-san, many coming from poor villages in Kyushu, started coming to Hong Kong in 1879, and constituted the majority of Japanese residents of the territory in the 1880s and 1890s.
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But in 1932, the Hong Kong government issued a ban on prostitution and three years later licensed prostitution ended.
From that time on, prostitution was permitted within strict limits while prohibiting a whole host of activities surrounding prostitution, such as soliciting for sex and living off "immoral earnings" (working as a pimp).
Most popular mainstream newspapers will carry such classifieds with a brothel guides as an insert within racing form guides.
Yellow neon advertising boxes were used to advertise sexual services to such an extent that "yellow" (黃) became synonymous with prostitution.
They invaded Hong Kong the moment the Colony was opened, and have ever since maintained here a monopoly, so to say, of the supply of Chinese pilots and ships' crews, of the fish trade, the cattle trade, and especially of the trade in women for the supply of foreigners and of brothels patronised by foreigners. kept mistress of foreigners here, belongs to this Tan-ka tribe, looked down upon and kept at a distance by all the other Chinese classes.