True Son of Heaven, many years ago -- some things have changed.
"It was a raid. The police swooped down with lightening speed on Taipei's most infamous criminal district, Snake Alley.
The police came on a mission of mercy. They came to free young victims of a vicious trade in flesh, who had been treated without a trace of human decency.
The snakes, that is. Some were endangered species.
Brothel owners had little to worry about, even with a police station just a block away. For one thing, many of them were retired police. The rest, as one later told me, sent little red envelopes each month to friends in the station.
Nor did fear of the gods restrain them. The gods, too seemed on the side of the oppressing classes. Mafia gangs in Taiwan form around Taoist temples.
Dragon Mountain temple, the Buddhist place of worship on the same block as the police station, also got a cut. Guan Yin (the goddess of mercy) has been worshipped there for a hundred years without disturbing business. She reached a thousand arms out to the brothels, one for each girl in that district, and drew back . . . cash."