How do you solve a problem as big as Geylang?

How do you solve a problem as big as Geylang?

For years, Geylang has stayed out of the nation's eye, with the sex trade and criminal elements mainly confined to those who look after the area.

People either went there for the food or to find pleasures of another kind.

But over time, more vices - such as gambling dens, drugs and contraband cigarettes - became rampant.

The area, which is flanked by lanes better known as lorongs on either side of Geylang Road, has been thrust back under the national spotlight.

At the Committee of Inquiry hearings into the Little India riot, Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee talked about the worrying state of law and order in Geylang.

Then Member of Parliament (MP) for the area Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef asked in Parliament on Monday what the police intended to do to solve Geylang's problems.

Earlier, she had commented on social media about the inaction by the authorities in curbing the problems there.

Her question did not seem to be adequately answered, seeing that she had a couple of additional questions.

It seems we are not ready for an open discussion on how to deal with prostitution and other vices in the area.

So how do you tackle a problem as big as Geylang?

Geylang in the past

Geylang has long been designated as the country's red-light district, with licensed brothels catering to locals and foreigners.

Traditionally, brothels - marked by red lanterns hanging outside the units - are licensed by the police and the prostitutes carry a yellow card, which acts like a work pass.

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