SINGAPORE: Massage parlours will now face more stringent regulations before they can operate.
Private rooms with curtains are a common sight in massage parlours, and many of unlicensed massage parlours have sprouted out in HDB heartlands, causing many residents to feel uncomfortable with the secrecy of their services behind closed doors.
But that will now change with the new regulations starting Monday.
Massage parlours have to comply with new requirements before they can be exempted from applying for a license, renewed annually.
Under the new law, massage outlets must remove the curtains and individual rooms if they are not certified under professional bodies like the Ministry of Health.
After that, they must also register their businesses with the Police.
If they do not register, they can be fined up to S$1000.
These new regulations also include operating their businesses in full view of passers-by and employment criteria.
For operators that are unlicensed and have been given exemptions, they can erect partitions only if they are certified under professional bodies like the Health Ministry or the Singapore Physiotherapy Association.
Licensed ones can operate in private rooms and their employees may now be asked to undergo medical health screenings such as tests for sexually transmitted diseases.
The operators have 2 months till August 26 to comply with the new rules.
"Increasingly, we've been finding more establishments breaching the conditions and conducting illegal activities behind their facade. Now we have to tighten these conditions to curb the growth of these illegal activities and make sure the spa industry and the massage industry in Singapore continues to have a good name and reputation," said Audrey Ang, Deputy Superintendent, Singapore Police Force.
For the first 5 months of this year, police caught about 150 massage parlours operating without exemption or proper license.
Slightly over 50 foreign women were also arrested for illegal activities in such places during the same period. - CNA /dt