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West End Extra - by TOM FOOT
Published: 4 May 2007
‘Clip joints’ facing crackdown

SOHO hostess bars that rip off customers could be closed down under a proposed licensing crackdown.
The council hopes a government Bill will help them put “clip joints” – which promise all-night drinking and live sex shows – out of business.
Men are lured into fake bars where they are forced to pay extortionate bills.
Red-faced punters are often too embarrassed to inform police and the opportunist scam goes unreported.
But the proposed London Local Authorities Bill hopes to create a new category for hostess bars, making them part of the licensing regime for the first time.
They will have to display a price-list for drinks and be will banned from advertising sex shows if none exist.
The clip joints would be regulated with spot-checks.
The council hope the legislation will force them to clean up their act or clear out of Soho.
Cabinet member for community protection Councillor Audrey Lewis said: “We are trying to close down rogue hostess bars that are ripping off customers.
“In the future, these sleazy establishments will need a licence if they are offering sexual services or alcohol.
“They will also be banned from touting. Local residents are strongly opposed to such establishments and I have deep sympathy for them.”
Residents have waged a 30-year war against hostess bars that have profited from Soho’s sleazy sex scene since the 1970s.
The most blatant example is two hostess bars flanking Soho Parish primary school in Great Windmill Street.
But it is not just the sleaze that worries residents – it is fears that the girls are being exploited.
A young woman was raped in October by a man in an alleyway in Meard Street, Soho. Police claimed the assault was a revenge attack by a man angry at being “clipped”. Hostess Camille Gordon, 23, was found stabbed to death in Archer Street, Soho in 2004.
Police distributed leaflets last year and notice boards reading “£5 to enter £250 to leave” were placed at the entrances of the clubs.

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