Police arrested eight women and a man from unlicensed massage parlours and public entertainment outlets during enforcement operations, which took place between July 12 and 13. All the suspects are aged between 24 and 46.
Central Police Division conducted the two days operations in places such as Temple Street, Foch Road, Jalan Besar, Cavan Road and Guan Chuan Street. They said in a news release that officers found one massage parlour have contravened licensing conditions, while two more establishments were running without a proper licence and allegedly providing sexual services.
Police arrested two men from these massage parlours, aged between 27 and 31 for allegedly breaching rules under the Women's Charter. Another woman, 46, was also taken under custody for working without a valid work permit under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
When officers searched two public entertainment outlets they found that these two establishments have violated licensing conditions. They arrested five women, aged between 24 and 38, for working without proper work permit under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. The officers also nabbed a man during the operation for his suspected involvement in a drug offence.
Police said that they will take serious actions against the unlicensed establishments and "as well as errant licensed massage establishments. Actions will be taken against the operators for flouting the rules and regulations under the Public Entertainment Act and Massage Establishment Act (MEA)."
As per the MEA, if the court found anyone guilty for their involvement in unlicensed outlets, then they could face a jail term up to two years, or a fine of up to $10,000, or both. For the subsequent convictions would be doubled and convicts would face five years of imprisonment, or a maximum fine of up to $20,000, or maybe both.
The landlords, who knowingly provided their premises to run the unlicensed massage parlours, can face legal charges. Police will inform them when their tenant has been charged in the court for operating illegal establishment and after the conviction, the landlords have to hand over possession of the premises within a month. If they failed to follow the orders, the landlords have to give $10,000 as a fine or can face a jail term of up to two years or maybe both. The maximum penalties for subsequent convictions would include a fine of up to $20,000, or five years of imprisonment or both.
If an operator failed to follow the court's order then police could order to vacate the illegal massage parlours and close the premises. Police also can take required actions against those operators if the order is not complied with. In the news release, police made it clear that breaching the order could make the offenders liable for a fine of $15,000, or imprisonment of up to 3 years, or both.
The man, who was arrested for the suspected drug offence, could face serious charges. Usually, under the Misuse of Drug Act, which governs drug-related offences, the maximum punishment for a drug offender is the death penalty.