KTV lounge linked to Covid-19 cluster fined for flouting licensing conditions in 2019

Club De Zara pleaded guilty to three counts of providing public entertainment in violation of a condition of its licence.


SINGAPORE - The operator of an establishment linked to the KTV Covid-19 cluster allowed its performers and freelance hostesses to mingle with patrons in 2019, even though it did not have approval from the authorities to do so.

Club De Zara, which operates a KTV lounge of the same name in Textile Centre, was fined $15,000 on Wednesday (Aug 18).

The company pleaded guilty to three counts of providing public entertainment in violation of a condition of its licence.

Two other similar charges were taken into consideration by District Judge Melissa Tan during sentencing.

Court documents state that the company's offences were discovered during three spot checks on the KTV lounge by police officers in 2019.

During the first spot check on July 4, 2019, three performers employed by the company were found to be sitting and mingling with male patrons in two rooms.

The company did not have approval from the authorities for its performers to sit, dance or mingle with patrons at any time, nor for anyone to perform duties of a hostess on its premises.

The court heard that two of the performers were brought into one of the rooms by a commissioned agent for the company, whose job involved introducing women to sit and mingle with the patrons.

During the second spot check on July 10, 2019, five freelance hostesses were found to be sitting, drinking and chatting with male patrons.

Another two hostesses were found doing so during the third spot check on Nov 12, 2019.

Of the performers and freelance hostesses involved, one was Malaysian while the rest were Vietnamese.

Club De Zara, along with two other KTV clubs and lounges, was ordered to shut for two weeks from July 13 this year following suspected Covid-19 transmission.

At that time, the Ministry of Health said it was investigating cases of infection among Vietnamese social hostesses who had frequented KTV lounges or clubs that had been allowed to pivot to operate as food and beverage outlets.

The Straits Times understands that Club De Zara remains closed.

To date, the KTV cluster has 253 cases, with its newest case identified on Aug 15.

For each of its offences, Club De Zara could have been fined up to $10,000.

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