SINGAPORE: Three KTV operators are being investigated after allegedly providing “hostessing services” within their premises, said the police on Wednesday (Jul 14).
This is in breach of safe management measures, under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. The police did not name the three KTV establishments in their media release.
The authorities also said that 20 women aged between 20 and 34 were arrested for their suspected involvement in vice activities within the three KTV lounges, which had pivoted to operate as F&B outlets.
The women were of Korean, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese nationalities.
The police added that the arrests were made in an operation conducted along South Bridge Road, Selegie Road and Geylang Road on Tuesday.
The women will be investigated for alleged offences under the Women’s Charter, the Immigration Act, and the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, said the police.
“One of the outlets had also allegedly provided dice games, which is a prohibited entertainment activity under the regulation,” they added.
In addition, the Singapore Food Agency will look into revoking the food licences of operators found to have committed “egregious breaches” of these safe management measures.
“Establishments which lose their food licence must cease operations with immediate effect until their re-application for a new food licence is approved,” said the police.
READ: 56 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in Singapore; KTV lounge cluster grows to 53 infections
READ: 41 new COVID-19 cases linked to KTV cluster; situation ‘troubling and disappointing’, says Ong Ye Kung
The arrests come as 42 more COVID-19 cases were linked to KTV lounges or clubs on Wednesday.
The cluster linked to KTV lounges now stands at 54 cases.
The first reported case in the cluster was a short-term visitor pass holder from Vietnam, who was found to have frequented many KTV outlets, said MOH’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak at a media event on Wednesday afternoon.
The Health Ministry had also said on Tuesday that epidemiological investigations had found there was likely ongoing COVID-19 transmission at three establishments.
Under current COVID-19 guidelines, nightlife businesses are not allowed to open in their "original form" as such settings entail "a large number of people coming into close contact for prolonged periods of time, and often in enclosed spaces".
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that as contact tracing continues, authorities expect more infections linked to the cluster in the coming days.
“We knew about cases like that happening in Korea, in Hong Kong, nightlife - people coming very close together, some with hostesses, and leading to big clusters. So we have never allowed such activities for the past more than one year," he said.
“And so any outlets providing hostess services, dice games and all this very close contact, were never allowed, knowing and learning from the experiences of places like Hong Kong and Korea. So for this to now happen has been troubling (and) disappointing.”
For non-compliance with safe distancing measures under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020, offenders may be jailed for up to six months, and or fined up to S$10,000.
The police reminded members of the public to take prevailing safe distancing measures seriously.
“The police take a very negative view of irresponsible behaviours relating to the flouting of safe distancing measures and offenders will be dealt with firmly.”
They added that they will be stepping up checks on such outlets, along with “enforcement against vice and other illegal activities”.