SINGAPORE - Four massage parlours were found operating without valid licences as the police stepped up enforcement against errant operators after the new Massage Establishments Act kicked in on March 1.
Officers from Tanglin Police Division conducted checks on nine such parlours in Upper Thomson Road, Balestier Road, Scotts Road and Orchard Road on Wednesday (May 9).
Of these, four were found to be operating without a valid licence. Actions will be taken against them under the new Act.
Operators of unlicensed massage establishments face enhanced penalties under the new Act. If convicted, first-time offenders may face a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Repeat offenders face up to five years' jail and/or a fine of up to $20,000.
Before the revision, the penalties for running an unlicensed massage establishment was a maximum fine of $1,000, with no jail term.
Police can also issue an order for the premises to be vacated and physically secured if the operator continues to operate even after being charged in court.
If the order is not complied with, the police can use reasonable force to enforce the closure of the establishment.
Anyone who breaches the order faces a jail term of up to three years and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
Landlords who knowingly lease their premises to unlicensed massage establishment operators will be notified by the police that the tenant has been charged in court over the offence.
After the tenant is convicted, the landlord must require the tenant to hand over possession of the premises within a month.
Failure to do so will land the landlord a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Repeat offenders face five years in jail and double the $10,000 fine.