Singapore Police Force (SPF) has announced that it has arrested a total of 26 women aged between 24 and 40 are being investigated by the Police for their suspected involvement in vice-related activities in unlicensed massage establishments following an operation on Friday (5 January) on outlets in Jalan Besar, Lavender and Little India.
The police said in a media release on Sunday (7 January) that action will also be taken against the owners of seven massage establishments for offences under the Massage Establishments Act and Women’s Charter.
The proposed changes to impose harsher penalties against unlicensed massage establishments were passed in Parliament in November last year. Therefore, the authorities have been ramping up efforts to weed out the unlicensed massage parlours.
Under the revised Massage Establishments Act, the penalty for unlicensed operators will be a maximum fine of S$10,000 (up from S$1,000), or a maximum jail term of two years, or both. Whereas, previously, there was no jail term.
Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mrs Josephine Teo, told the Parliament last November, saying that the enhanced laws were more than just about “raising fines”.
"We are adopting a suite of measures that would give the extra teeth necessary to clamp down on unlicensed massage establishments," she said at the second reading of the Bill.
The new legislation broadens the authority of the police, as well as allowing them to shut down an unlicensed venue if illegal activities are still being carried out there while the operator is undergoing criminal proceedings.
Irresponsible landlords will also be taken to task if they knowingly lease their premises to unlicensed operators.