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The Straits Times
February 28, 2022
With karaoke still banned, informal - and illicit - KTV joints are popping up across the island, with raids by the police last week clamping down on two joints and resulting in 26 people being taken in for questioning.
The police said on Monday (Feb 28) that 17 men and nine women aged between 23 and 64 were found at two "unlicensed KTV-concept outlets" which they had raided after public tip-offs and complaints.
The 26 people - including operators and patrons - have not been arrested but are helping out with investigations.
If found guilty of flouting Covid-19 rules, they are liable for fine, jail time, or both.
"Members of the public and businesses are advised to take the prevailing safe management measures seriously," the police said in a statement.
The first raid last Wednesday was launched after the police received information about an illegal outlet at an industrial unit in Ubi Avenue 4.
Upon entry, officers found 12 men and six women socialising. Four KTV rooms had been fashioned in the unit, each equipped with karaoke systems, speakers, microphones and television sets, and alcohol was provided.
A second operation a day later happened in Bedok Road after a noise complaint. This time, four men and three women were found gathering in the outlet.
Illicit text messages related to remote gambling were also found in the men's phones, and they will be further investigated on that count.
If found guilty of flouting Covid-19 safe distancing rules, offenders can be jailed for up to six months, fined up to $10,000, or both.
Operators who provide public entertainment and supply alcohol without a valid licence can also be charged under two counts, each carrying a fine of up to $20,000.
The police said they will continue to conduct regular enforcement checks.
Late last year, the police investigated 131 people after a two-day Christmas operation targeting public entertainment and nightlife outlets found multiple breaches of prevailing rules.
In January, another 62 people were caught for similar illegal actions, 15 of whom were arrested.
In February, one unlicensed KTV-concept outlet in Syed Alwi Road led to 97 people being investigated. The establishment had 22 karaoke rooms, spread across the higher floors of three shophouse units.
The rooms each had karaoke systems, speakers, microphones and television sets.