Your head seems a little heavy while driving towards the crime scene. The thoughts of your father fuzzily weigh down upon you, imperiously pushing you forward, motivating you to solve the crime before you have to refresh yourself once again. The neon lights of the red light district come into view as your make a turn into Geylang Road. The streets may have been refurbished, but sleaze stays where it wants.
You silently lament the prevalence and even growth of the sleaze trade in Singapore. In order to stabilize our declining birth rate, Singapore had to adopt an open door policy to immigration, and some doors that were opened were not as ideal as one expected. Rising crime rates have strained police resources, and a sprawling sex trade was among the chief causes of a nation struggling with crime in the mid 21st Century.
Exotic Live Acts. Broadway in Singapore. Cabaret themed nightclubs. Massage parlours. Their neon hues are reflected onto your electric Nissan, glowing in an unholy luminescence. You can only imagine what goes on inside those establishments. The traffic light changes to green, and the silent humming of the electric cars almost feel like the silent but pervasive nightlife.
“Isabelle, we are nearing your destination. Making a left turn into Lorong 18,” your friendly VR avatar guides your car into the alley of the crime scene. “Good luck for your investigations, hopefully you’ll find something today.”
You step out into the hellish glow of neon. The body was found just in front of an infamous brothel, so you decide to enter to interview and canvass for any possible witnesses.
The brothel you enter has the smell of cigarettes, coupled with the sickly sweet smell of cheap perfume, gives a heady euphoria to any curious or seasoned visitor. The hookers are seated in a large couch on the right. The girls see you coming in and shush themselves into silence, eyeing at you suspiciously. The pimp looks up from the front counter, nods and stands up to greet you. He looks to be in his late forties, his greyish hair slicked back, wearing a cheap Giordano collared shirt with the collars turned up and khaki slacks. His skin hangs loosely from his gaunt frame.
“Good evening officer, what can I do for you?” The pimp grins, showing a row of teeth marred by decades of smoking illegal substances and a few gold implants.
“Evening, I would like to ask you a few questions regarding the murder that took place a few days ago.”
The pimp’s expression changes from patronizingly servile to coldly indignant. Spot for micro-expressions, you remind yourself. “I don’t know anything about her. She wasn’t even one of my girls.”
“What’s your name?”
“You can call me Peng.”
“Peng, do you know what happens when you don’t disclose information to a police officer?”
“I already told you, I don’t know anyth—“
“It’s called an obstruction of justice, and I can have you arrested for interfering with my investigation.”
“Eh, okay. Okay. Relax ma’am. You tell me what you want to know.”
“How did you know the victim?”
“She did work in this house from time to time, but she was never officially in our books.”
“Why did you lie when I asked you the first time?” You start to tighten your questioning.
“Aiya, because I was afraid of getting into trouble for not registering her in our books. But she had no place to stay, so I took pity on her and decided to give her a place to eat and sleep. Who knew I would be so suay, kena this kind of unnecessary bad luck.”
“Do you know anybody whom she was close to, or was sleeping with on a regular basis?”
The pimp ponders, looking up at the bare ceiling. “Come to think of it yes. There were quite a few times when she would visit this KTV pub across the street, instead of working to pay her dues.” He ushers you to the entrance of the brothel where he gesticulates to the KTV named < China Dollies >.
< Saved in iCloud. >
“She will always go until very late, maybe even returning in the morning. The other girls started to dislike her because she never helps them with the chores.”
“Did she tell you what she did there?”
“Not much, except she had a “VIP customer” who was the pub owner.”
<connecting the dots…>
Okay. Time to pay this pub owner a visit.