Restrictions on massage parlours not the best way to tackle vice

The authorities' decision to restrict the operating hours of massage parlours will do more harm to businesses than achieving their aim of reducing vice activities in such establishments (New restrictions on massage parlours; March 1).

What is the proportion of vice activities in Singapore that take place in massage parlours? Vice is surely more rampant in the infamous houses of Geylang.

Such activities occur throughout the afternoon and evening in the red-light district and in budget hotels.

Massage sessions can typically take an hour, meaning that a last customer would have to walk in before 9.30pm (with the stipulated 10.30pm closing time). If a store or office worker wants a massage after a late shift, he may not be able to make it in time.

Curtailing massage parlour hours will have a huge impact on the revenue of such establishments and make it harder for many genuine customers to access massage services, while simply driving those who seek sexual services to the red-light district.

Curtailing massage parlour hours will have a huge impact on the revenue of such establishments and make it harder for many genuine customers to access massage services, while simply driving those who seek sexual services to the red-light district.

If the authorities want to reduce vice activities, they should consider other avenues.

Adam Reutens-Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2018, with the headline 'Restrictions on massage parlours not the best way to tackle vice'. Print Edition | Subscribe