SINGAPORE: Five men and 157 women were arrested in a 23-day operation targeting online vice syndicates, the police said in a news release on Saturday (Aug 11).
The suspects, aged between 19 and 48, were nabbed at multiple locations including condominiums, hotels and homes in Geylang, Jalan Sultan, Cavenagh Road and Balestier Road, the police said. The raids ended on Tuesday and investigations are ongoing, the police added.
Items including laptops and mobile phones were seized as case exhibits.
Those who misuse their HDB flats may face a financial penalty or have their flats seized by authorities, the police said.
Tenants found to be involved in the misuse of flats will also not be allowed to rent an HDB flat for five years, the police added.
Flat owners who rent out their premises to persons for vice-related activities will also be prosecuted and may be fined for up to S$3,000, jailed for up to three years, or both, the police said. They may be fined for up to S$10,000, jailed for up to five years, or both, on subsequent convictions.
Those who aid in the prostitution of another person may be jailed for up to five years and fined for up to S$10,000. A man may also be caned on subsequent convictions, in addition to being jailed.
"HDB flats are meant for residential purposes, and the use of flats for vice activities is strictly prohibited," said the police.
"HDB takes a serious view on the misuse of HDB flats and will not hesitate to take appropriate actions against flat owners who are found to be involved in the misuse."
The police added that flat owners play "an important role in preventing vice in (the) heartlands", and reminded them to conduct regular checks on their tenants to prevent vice activities from "proliferating in residential estates".
The police also said that they would continue to work with information submitted from the public regarding vice activities.