The police said on Wednesday (14 July) that 20 women aged between 20 and 34 were arrested for their suspected involvement in vice-related activities within three KTV lounges, which had pivoted to operate as food and beverage (F&B) outlets.
In a statement, the police noted that the women are Korean, Malaysian, Thai, and Vietnamese nationalities.
The women will be investigated for alleged offences under the Women’s Charter, the Immigration Act, and the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, said the authorities.
It was stated that the arrests were made in an anti-crime operation conducted along South Bridge Road, Selegie Road and Geylang Road on Tuesday (13 July).
In addition, the three pivoted KTV operators are also being investigated after allegedly providing “hostessing services” within their premises.
This is in breach of safe management measures, under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020. The police, however, did not reveal the name of the three KTV establishments.
“One of the outlets had also allegedly provided dice games, which is a prohibited entertainment activity under the regulation,” they asserted.
Meanwhile, the authorities said the Singapore Food Agency will look into revoking the food licences of operators found to have committed egregious breaches of safe management measures.
“Establishments which lose their food licence must cease operations with immediate effect until their re-application for a new food licence is approved,” they noted.
For non-compliance with safe distancing measures under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020, offenders may be jailed for up to six months, and or fined up to S$10,000.
The police reminded members of the public to take prevailing safe distancing measures seriously.
“The police take a very negative view of irresponsible behaviours relating to the flouting of safe distancing measures and offenders will be dealt with firmly.”
The authorities also noted that they will be stepping up checks on such outlets, along with “enforcement against vice and other illegal activities”.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported 42 new cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 infection earlier today, of which 34 belong to the KTV cluster.
MOH had also urged members of the public who had interacted with Vietnamese social hostesses in any setting between 29 June to 12 July to come forward for free swab tests.
Netizens question why the hostesses were allowed to enter S’pore on a short-term visit pass
Penning their thoughts under the comment section of CNA’s Facebook post on the matter, many netizens asked why the Vietnamese hostess was allowed to enter Singapore on a short-term visit pass in the first place.
They may be referring to an earlier report that the “index case” of the recently discovered COVID-19 cluster originating from KTV lounges is a Vietnamese hostess who is in Singapore on a short-term visit pass.
One netizen asked why the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) is not “in the picture”.
“I am confused, why ICA let these women come in under short term visit, wats her purpose of entry during this covid period? Who was her sponsor? Why ICA is not in the picture at all. Will the ministry will look into these perspective too??,” said the netizen.
Another netizen wrote: “No reason to have allowed such short-term visit pass visitors in when they have no legitimate business to enter the country at times like these. Doesn’t information on immigration form or stamps in passport tell something about such visitors? And shouldn’t entry requirements be more stringent for those from countries with high cases?”