SINGAPORE: A total of 103 people were arrested following islandwide checks on 1,543 public entertainment and nightlife outlets in Singapore, the police said on Monday (Jun 27).
The enforcement operations were conducted between Apr 19 and Jun 14 this year as part of ongoing efforts to ensure a safe resumption of nightlife businesses in Singapore, they added.
The checks were carried out together with the Singapore Tourism Board, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Enterprise Singapore, Singapore Food Agency, Singapore Land Authority, Sentosa Development Corporation and JTC Corporation.
The police arrested 71 men and 32 women, aged between 16 and 53, for various offences such as being members of unlawful societies, possessing offensive weapons in a public place, causing annoyance while drunk and working without a valid work permit.
Twenty-seven of these women were arrested under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act for purportedly working at nightlife establishments as freelance hostesses by providing companionship and drinking with patrons without a valid work permit.
The women were of Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese nationalities, said the police.
Forty-eight licensed and unlicensed public entertainment and nightlife outlets were found to have committed various breaches.
Seven of these outlets were found to have flouted COVID-19 regulations. Among the offences were failing to minimise physical interaction between patrons and staff members, as well as failing to implement a system of checks for vaccination-differentiated safe management measures.
Some of these outlets also did not ensure patrons remained masked while indoors.
Four closure orders and six composition fines of S$1,000 each were also issued to operators for breaching safe management measures.
CHECKS AT OUTRAM ROAD, JALAN BESAR
During a check on Apr 24, an outlet located in a shopping centre along Outram Road was found to have permitted a group of 11 unmasked patrons to gather within its premises.
As the operator had failed to ensure that the group size of unmasked patrons did not exceed the prevailing limit of 10, it was issued with a 10-day closure order and fined S$1,000.
A separate check on a shophouse along Jalan Besar on May 14 found an outlet that was furnished with five private rooms. The rooms were equipped with karaoke systems, speakers, microphones and televisions.
"Patrons were purportedly permitted to sing karaoke in these rooms even though the operator did not possess a valid public entertainment licence," said the police, adding that the operator is being investigated.
The offence of providing public entertainment without a valid licence carries a fine of up to S$20,000.
For non-compliance with safe distancing measures under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Reopening – Control Order) Regulations 2022, individuals and operators found guilty may be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S$10,000, or both.
"The police and agencies will continue to carry out enforcement operations at public entertainment outlets to suppress illicit activities," said the police.
The police added that members of the public and businesses should remain vigilant and continue to take the prevailing safe management measures seriously.
"The police have zero tolerance for irresponsible behaviour relating to the flouting of these measures, and offenders will be dealt with firmly in accordance with the law," they added.
All nightlife businesses, including nightclubs and discotheques, were allowed to fully reopen from Apr 19 with Singapore further easing COVID-19 restrictions on Apr 26, with group size limits removed and safe distancing no longer required.
Nightlife establishments with dancing among patrons were no longer subjected to a capacity limit from Jun 14. Patrons are also no longer required to obtain a negative antigen rapid test (ART) result to enter such venues.