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The New Paper
June 19, 2016
Suspect your husband is cheating on you?
Chances are, you might find him at two spas in the Dhoby Ghaut area, private investigators (PIs) tell The New Paper on Sunday.
Among the litany of spas that offer illegal sexual services in Singapore, the PIs claim that these two massage parlours are the most notorious of the lot.
This is primarily because of the number of cheating cases that have led PIs to them, say the two investigators.
Also, one of the spas is supposedly the largest "dirty" massage establishment in Singapore, says veteran PI James Loh from International Investigators.
"Others might have five to 10 girls. This one is very well run and has 20-plus girls, so there are more options for the customer," says Mr Loh, who has visited both places four times each for separate investigations.
"It is almost like a brothel."
Another PI, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, agrees.
He says the two spas have run these services "for quite a number of years", and have so far avoided closure.
Says Mr Tan: "They are well known among regulars. For some reason, I have found myself tracking different cheating spouses to these two places more than once.
"There are also other spas there which are shady, not just these two. Dhoby Ghaut has become like a discreet red light district for richer people, it seems."
Mr Tan reckons that out of every 10 divorce cases he handles, one can be traced to the husband visiting one of the two spas.
The spas are located a block away from each other - one is in Sophia Road and the other is in Prinsep Street.
Both opened in 2012.
It is illegal for massage parlour operators to conduct such activities in their establishments.
TNPS is not naming both spas so as not to add to their reputation but has forwarded their names to the authorities.
Last week, seven massage parlour operators were charged in court with running a massage establishment without a valid licence.
Some of these massage parlours are believed to have allowed sexual acts within their premises.
TNPS went undercover to these massage parlours over the past two weeks to find out for sure if they offer sex for money.
Despite posing as first-time customers, we were escorted to partitioned rooms where customers could be alone with the female masseuses.
In one spa, there were as many as 20 such rooms.
The session begins like a regular massage treatment, although the term "massage" is used loosely.
The masseuse, who is dressed in a spa uniform, spends the first hour weakly prodding and rubbing the client's back, while spending a disproportionate amount of time on the thigh area.
It also seems that the masseuse, who says she is from China, makes special effort to repeatedly brush her long hair against the client's face.
Halfway into the hour-long massage is when things take a sleazy turn.
"Would you like other services?" she coos in heavily accented Mandarin.
What other services?
She hems and haws, before flirtatiously asking: "Do you like me?"
Probe further, and she quotes between $50 and $80 for sexual services.
But flirtatiousness quickly turns to anger once the extra services are declined.
"You came all the way here, you surely must know what this kind of place is," she sneers as the massage session ends.
Mr Gilbert de Silva, a PI from SecureGuard, says most, if not all, of the women who offer sexual services under the guise of masseuses are foreign nationals, some on tourist visas.
"One of the girls we investigated was a holder of a student permit who attended one of those fly-by-night schools here," he adds.
It is illegal for those on tourist visas and student passes to seek employment in Singapore.
Mr de Silva adds that the men who frequent these massage parlours come from all walks of life, from lawyers to school teachers.
The former police officer has had his men follow his clients' cheating husbands into these spas, not only to document their behaviour, but also to find out more about the woman per their clients' requests.
He says: "Sometimes, our clients want us to gather enough information about these girls and the spas, so they can refer them to the police and get these places in trouble.
"We know quite a lot about some of these girls. Just by acting flamboyant and rich, they give up their phone numbers (to us) easily."
Mr Loh adds that sometimes, the relationship goes beyond a sensual massage with a "happy ending".
Some husbands end up in extramarital affairs with the masseuses, such as in one of his cases last year.
"The wife suspected her spouse was cheating on her, and we found out that the mistress worked in the Prinsep Street massage parlour," he says.
Owners of the two massage parlours could not be reached for comment.
Police conducted checks at both spas
The two massage parlours are known to the police, a police spokesman tells TNPS.
In March this year, the police conducted enforcement checks at the Prinsep Street massage parlour.
They did the same at the Sophia Road massage parlour in May.
Says the spokesman: "Actions have been taken against offenders under the Massage Establishment Act and the Immigration Act.
"We take a tough stand against vice activities and will continue with our regular enforcement checks to deter and detect such illegal activities. Operators found conducting illicit activities in massage establishments will be taken to task."
Last week, seven unlicensed massage parlour operators were charged in court for carrying on an establishment for massage without a valid licence.
Police officers had targeted massage establishments in Chinatown, Little India, Jalan Besar, Middle Road, Bencoolen Street, Jalan Sultan and Coleman Street that had flouted regulations under the Massage Establishment Act.
The spokesman did not reveal what penalties were meted out to these two massage parlours but confirmed that they were not among the seven charged last week.
Despite the police enforcement, TNPS found that the two massage parlours are back at it.
But why are they allowed to continue?
Private investigator James Loh explains that the massage parlour owners can simply deny knowledge of what the girls are doing and the businesses would technically be legal if they followed the regulations under the Massage Establishment Act.
The spas' counter staff will never acknowledge that they offer extra services.
Says Mr Loh: "By acting 'blur', they are not making it easy for the authorities to get evidence. If anything happens, they simply push the blame to the workers and recruit new ones if they get sent back."
They also keep a muted online presence. Knowledge of these two places are handled like a trade secret and the information is traded only among trusted regulars.
Unlike other spas, they do not actively advertise their services and are tucked away in corners where the public might not see customers entering.
Their names are also never mentioned on commercial sex forums online.
Those who unknowingly post on the forum divulging these locations are quickly chided and made to edit their posts to avoid incriminating the two massage parlours, TNPS finds.
But it is still relatively easy to tell if a massage parlour is vice-free or not.
One telltale sign is whether there are attractive ladies at the door to greet and beckon customers to enter.
Adds Mr Tan: "Of course, if all the customers who enter the spa happen to be male, that is another sign too.
"But if the massage is done in full view of other customers and (the place) has glass doors so as not to hide what happens inside, then it is usually 'clean'."