Singapore police find 14 unlicensed massage parlours; 10 women arrested

Prostitution (Representational picture) Reuters

Singapore Police Force said on Thursday that a total of 10 women were arrested for violating Women's Charter and Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. The authorities have also found 14 parlours, which were running without a valid license.

Three female employees and two of their male clients were arrested from a facial spa on Upper Thomson Road, which is an unlicensed massage parlour.

Officers from the Bishan Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) were part of the two-week-long operation that was launched to locate unlicensed and errant massage parlours. The officers have checked 41 parlours, situated in 15 locations between March 1 to March 14.

Under Massage Establishments (ME) Act that came into force from March 1, offenders will face an imprisonment up to two years, including a fine of $10,000. The Act also regulates the timings of licensed massage parlours.

Michael Ben Chee, the commanding officer for Bishan NPC said that the new law will help the police deal with vice activities and law and order problems in massage establishments.

Reports stated that the number of the unlicensed parlours has increased to 40 percent between 2013 and 2016. In 2016 alone, 300 cases were reported. While 7 percent of the illegal operation took place in HDB property, 40 percent was engaged in vice-related offences. It was found that some spas, which were open for 24 hours, provided sexual services near HDB flats.

At Upper Thomson Road, where the officers discovered a facial spa with a massage bed in one of its rooms on Thursday, March 8 which had three foreign women. They were talking in Mandarin to explain the police about their work culture at the spa.

When officers checked eight other rooms inside the spa, the authorities found a tablet from one room, which was showing five live camera views of the walkway outside, as the establishment had five closed-circuit television cameras.

Later on the same day, March 8 police officers from Tanglin Division checked six other massage outlets in the operation.

during the operation, conducted between March 7 and March 9 by Singapore's Central Police Division, the officials arrested 36 people for their alleged involvement in drug-related offences, gambling and sexual services.

Polic said in a statement that the operation took place in Little India, located at the east of the Singapore River and other areas such as Jalan Besar, Chinatown and Tiong Bahru.

This article was first published on March 15, 2018