KTV raid part of largest enforcement blitz since start of pandemic, 759 being probed

Gabrielle Chan
The Straits Times
December 15, 2022

Patrons at a packed three-storey karaoke lounge in Jalan Sultan had their night out cut short on Dec 9 when the police raided the outlet at 11.30pm and arrested 44 people.

The 39 women, aged between 20 and 37, and five men, aged between 23 and 34, are being investigated for offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. 

The raid was part of the largest islandwide enforcement blitz since the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, with over 1,300 police officers deployed in the operation from Nov 21 to Dec 14.

Led by various police land divisions and supported by several government agencies, the multi-agency operation ended with a total of 464 men and 295 women, aged between 15 and 88, being investigated for their involvement in various offences. 

Investigations against the 759 individuals are ongoing.

The operation was aimed at clamping down on crime and illegal activities, such as illegal gambling, vice activities and drug-related offences, ahead of the festive season.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Jeremy Ang Boon Sheng, commander of Central Police Division, said: “To maintain law and order as well as prevent crime, we conduct regular enforcement checks at public entertainment outlets to ensure that the operators comply with regulations.

“This also allows the police to weed out illicit vice activities at massage establishments and illegal gambling activities at public places and private compounds.” 

In the Dec 9 raid on the KTV lounge, the police told customers to leave and instructed the female workers to wait in a room. 

The women covered their faces with their hands while standing in the dimly lit room as police officers in uniform asked for their mobile phones and identification documents. After a 20-minute check, those who were not subject to further investigations were told to go straight home. 

Police officers checking the female workers’ mobile phones and identification documents. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

The crackdown was part of a three-day operation from Dec 9 to 11, led by officers from Central Police Division, to target illegal activities in public entertainment outlets and massage establishments in the vicinity of Jalan Besar, Little India, Beach Road, Chinatown and Boat Quay. 

A total of 35 men and 105 women, aged between 19 and 69, were arrested for offences under the Women’s Charter 1961, Gambling Control Act 2022, Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act 2015, Misuse of Drugs Act 1973 and Employment of Foreign Manpower Act 1990. 

Another operation conducted between Nov 25 and Dec 10 saw officers from Tanglin Police Division raiding commercial units in Balestier, Orchard Road and Upper Paya Lebar, arresting 48 women, aged between 22 and 57, and seizing condoms, lubricants and mobile phones used in facilitating appointments.

An operation conducted at a commercial unit in Balestier. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

In an operation from Dec 4 to 9 against illegal activities in Geylang, 15 men and nine women, aged between 20 and 72, were arrested for their involvement in offences under the Gambling Control Act 2022. Over $76,000 in cash and gambling paraphernalia were seized.

Other raids were also conducted in Bukit Batok and Jurong West, as well as Woodlands.

Assistant Commissioner Gregory Tan, acting director of the police’s operations department, commended the officers and agencies involved in the operation for their teamwork during the blitz. 

“The police will step up our efforts to combat criminal activities and take firm action against those who blatantly disregard the law,” he added. He also reminded the public to take crime prevention measures amid the year-end festivities.

The Straits Times

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