Ten local women, aged 20 to 40, were arrested last week in an anti-vice operation for working as “part-time girlfriends” — a form of “compensated dating” or paid companionship that is popular in Hong Kong.
During a press conference today, Mong Kok District’s Acting Chief Inspector Lau Hon-kwan said the women were arrested as part of a joint anti-vice operation (code name “Skyriver”) by the district’s crime unit and Special Duties Squad on Saturday (June 17).
Police seized 10 mobile phones, 100 condoms, 10 lubricants and 11 items of lingerie as evidence.
Inspector Chan Wing, of the Mong Kok District Special Duties Squad, said that people engaging in compensated dating had begun openly placing sex trade advertisements outside of adult forums. Chan said that those advertising and seeking part-time girlfriend services are now turning to well-known social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, and use WeChat to negotiate payment for services ranging from masturbation and oral sex to penetrative sex.
After investigating at least 30 women promoting themselves as part-time girlfriends on public platforms, police arrested 10 suspects who charged between HKD1,200 and HKD4,000 for their services, Chan said.
Undercover officers met up with the suspects in Kowloon over the weekend and arrested those who suggested sexual intercourse for “soliciting for an immoral purpose”.
While some of the suspects are have a long history of sex work, one was a clerical worker, two were university graduates and one was a secondary school student, Chan said.
Yeung Nga-yee, a registered social worker, said quite a number of teenage girls engage in compensated dating because they do not consider it as a form of the sex trade, and believe they can quit any time and be selective about clients.
However, she warned that these girls can be drawn in by the allure of quick and easy cash and fall into the trap of prostitution.
In April, 23 people, aged 17 to 67, were arrested in connection to a compensated dating ring, and a cache of over 2,000 photos and social media accounts of part-time girlfriends was leaked on a forum. Later that month, Instagram removed 120,000 part-time girlfriend-related tags and banned the use of the hashtag #ptgf. However, Coconuts Hong Kong reporters found that many other part-time girlfriend and part-time boyfriend-related hashtags still exist on the platform at the time of writing, the most popular of which contains over 21,000 posts.
Posts within the hashtag are split between those advertising and those seeking part-time girlfriends. While some women specify that they will not “ML” (make love), multiple girls under the age of 18 explicitly offered sex on their ads, as well as a price list for other “dating services” (going out to the cinema, going out for meals, singing karaoke), and a monthly “plan” for all of the above. Others offer to sell intimate photos and videos to clients, as well as their used underwear.