97 people under probe for gathering at unlicensed KTV-concept establishment in Syed Alwi Road

Karaoke rooms found within unlicensed KTV-concept outlet, there were a total of 22 such rooms. PHOTO: SPF
The rooms were equipped with karaoke systems, speakers, microphones and televisions. PHOTO: SPF
Liquor from the pivoted F&B establishment was served to the patrons in the rooms. PHOTO: SPF

SINGAPORE - The police are investigating 97 people - including four suspected hostesses from China, one of whom tested positive for Covid-19 - for non-compliance with safe distancing measures in an unlicensed KTV-concept establishment in Syed Alwi Road.

On the night of Feb 15, the police conducted a check on a pivoted food and beverage (F&B) establishment in a shophouse in Little India.

They found 60 men and 37 women - aged between 24 and 65 - gathering within an unlicensed KTV-like outlet concealed behind a partitioned door within the establishment, said the police on Saturday (Feb 19).

Further investigation revealed 22 karaoke rooms, spread across the higher floor of three shophouse units. The rooms were equipped with karaoke systems, speakers, microphones and televisions. Liquor from the pivoted F&B establishment was served to the patrons.

Of the 97 people, four women of Chinese nationality, aged between 33 and 48, are suspected to be hostesses. One of them tested positive for Covid-19, through an antigen rapid test, the police added.

All four women, who were intermingling and providing companionship services to the patrons, were arrested for offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

A 41-year-old man - purportedly the operator of the unlicensed KTV-concept outlet - is being investigated for offences under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act, as well as for breaching safe management measures for allowing patrons to enter a non-permitted enterprise.

He was among the 97 people who gathered in the KTV-concept outlet, the police said.

For non-compliance with safe distancing measures, offenders may be jailed for up to six months, fined up to $10,000, or both. The offences of providing public entertainment and supplying liquor without a valid licence each carries a fine of up to $20,000.

The police will continue to maintain a "high tempo" in their enforcement checks to prevent, deter and detect vice and other illicit activities.

"As we deal with the increase of Omicron infections, such socially irresponsible behaviour puts public health under great risk, including that of our front-line officers and their families," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Jeremy Ang, who is the commander of the Central Police Division.

Concealed door within the pivoted food and beverage establishment. PHOTO: SPF

In end-January, a once-thriving KTV outlet in North Bridge Road, which had allegedly been operating despite a ban on nightlife establishments during the pandemic, went dark and quiet.

A previous report by The Straits Times exposed its nightly operations, with around 50 people commonly seen leaving the venue at about 10.30pm through its entrance. Patrons who left after midnight used a fire escape door.

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