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99 people investigated over various breaches at massage parlours, nightlife outlets

99 people investigated over various breaches at massage parlours, nightlife outlets

A food and beverage outlet along Media Circle that was raided by police on Sep 24, 2021. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

SINGAPORE: A total of 99 people are under investigation for various offences after islandwide police raids at massage parlours and public entertainment and nightlife outlets.

The enforcement operations took place between Aug 19 and Sep 24 at 192 massage establishments and 91 public entertainment and nightlife outlets, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said in a news release on Saturday (Oct 2).

OPERATIONS AT MASSAGE ESTABLISHMENTS

Thirty-two massage parlours were found to have breached rules governing massage establishments as well as COVID-19 safety regulations.

Among these, 25 were allegedly operating without valid licences. Masseuses at 12 of these 25 establishments are suspected of offering or providing sexual services.

Twenty-three women, aged between 22 and 47, were arrested for offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act and the Women’s Charter.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that the women had allegedly provided sexual services within the massage establishments,” SPF said.

Police also found masseuses and customers at two premises allegedly not wearing masks while massage services were being provided.

These establishments will be issued with a 10-day closure order and fined S$1,000 for failing to ensure that staff and customers wear masks within their premises. Customers are also liable for a S$300 fine for not wearing a mask outside their “ordinary place of residence”, said SPF.

In total, 61 people are under investigation, comprising operators, masseuses and customers.

OPERATIONS AT PUBLIC ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE OUTLETS

Ten licensed and unlicensed public entertainment and nightlife outlets were found to have breached rules governing public entertainment and liquor supply and consumption as well as COVID-19 safety regulations, police said.

In one case on Sep 24, police arrested six South Korean women aged between 23 and 31 for employment-related offences.

“The police conducted a joint operation with the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) at an F&B outlet located along Media Circle, in response to information received on the provision of hostesses,” SPF said.

“During the raid, the six women were allegedly found to have provided companionship to customers in return for the purchase of drinks at the outlet, for which they would earn commission.”

The women were arrested for working without a valid work permit under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, police said.

Four of the women and 10 other people found inside the outlet will also be investigated by SFA for allegedly breaching COVID-19 regulations by exceeding the permitted size of social gatherings.

The operator of the outlet will also be investigated for several breaches, including failing to minimise interactions between staff, visitors and customers; failing to ensure safe distancing of at least 1m between seated customers; and failing to implement measures to enable contact tracing of every customer and visitor, police said.

Investigations are ongoing against 38 people in total, comprising operators, staff members and customers.

“The police will continue to carry out regular enforcement checks on massage establishments and public entertainment outlets to suppress vice and other illicit activities,” SPF said.

“Members of the public and businesses are advised 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.”

Under the Massage Establishments Act, those convicted of carrying on a business of providing massage services without a valid licence face a S$10,000 fine, up to two years in prison, or both. Repeat offenders face a fine of up to S$20,000, up to five years in prison, or both.

Those who breach the Massage Establishment Rules 2018 can be fined up to S$5,000. Repeat offenders face a fine of up to S$10,000, up to two years in prison, or both.

For failing to comply with COVID-19 regulations, offenders can be fined up to S$10,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.

The offences of supplying liquor without a valid licence and providing public entertainment without a valid licence each carry a fine of up to S$20,000.

Source: CNA/kg(dv)

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