SINGAPORE - Nearly a hundred people are under investigation and 29 of them have been arrested following a police crackdown on 283 massage establishments and public entertainment and nightlife outlets.
The raids took place between Aug 19 and Sept 24, the police said in a statement on Saturday (Oct 2).
A total of 32 of 192 massage establishments raided were found to have broken the law.
Of these, 25 were allegedly found operating without a valid licence, and masseuses purportedly provided sexual services within 12 of these parlours.
The police arrested 23 women, aged between 22 and 47, for allegedly providing sexual services within the massage establishments.
Masseuses and customers were allegedly found not wearing a mask at two of these locations. These establishments have been ordered to shut for 10 days and fined $1,000 for failure to ensure that all staff and customers wear a mask within the licensed premises.
The customers are also liable for a $300 fine for not wearing a mask.
The police are investigating 61 other individuals - operators, masseuses and customers.
Of the 91 public entertainment and nightclub outlets inspected, 10 licensed and unlicensed establishments were found to have broken the law.
The police conducted a joint operation on Sept 24 with the Singapore Food Agency at a food and beverage outlet located in Media Circle, after receiving information about the presence of hostesses.
Six South Korean women, aged between 23 and 31, were arrested for working without a valid work permit.
They were also allegedly found providing companionship to customers in return for the purchase of drinks at the outlet, for which they would earn a commission.
Four of them, along with ten others found at the outlet, are under investigation for allegedly exceeding the permitted size of social gatherings.
The police added that the outlet's operator will be investigated for breaches that include failure to implement and ensure Covid-19 safe management measures.
Investigations against 38 operators, staff members and customers are under way.
The police said they will continue to carry out regular enforcement checks on massage establishments and public entertainment outlets to clamp down on vice and other illicit activities.
Those found guilty running a business providing massage services in an establishment for massage without a valid licence can be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to two years, or both.
Those in violation of safe distancing measures can be jailed up to six months, fined up to $10,000, or both.
The offences of supplying liquor and providing public entertainment without a valid licence can each carry a fine of up to $20,000.