SINGAPORE: It looked like a scene from an action movie – a door shattered, two door handle halves shattered, wood chips litter the threshold.
The smell of alcohol and the general commotion greeted reporters as they entered a residential unit on the fourth floor of the Kim San Leng Building, a short walk from the City Square Mall.
It was after a police raid on an illegal karaoke. Some officers interviewed suspects, while others guarded each of the six rooms, keeping a close watch on clients who decided to spend their Friday evening (April 2) there.
Karaoke was one of three outlets that provided public entertainment or supplied alcohol without a valid license during a nighttime raid that began on Friday night.
Some people had also gathered in groups of more than eight, which is against COVID-19 regulations.
In a press release, police said 45 people, aged 24 to 66, would be investigated for allegedly breaking the rules of the Public Entertainment Act and Liquor Control Act 2015, as well as for their alleged violation of COVID-19 measures.
Eight people were arrested, including a 38-year-old man with an outstanding arrest warrant.
The other seven people, aged 23 and 38, were arrested for violations of the 2015 Alcohol Control Act and the Foreign Labor Employment Act.
When reporters were taken to the unit, clients covered their faces and some of them protested when photos were taken.
Almost all of them were in the middle of Mandopop songs from singers like Jacky Cheung and Jay Chou when the police stormed in.
Cans of beer and bottles of brandy lined the tables.
“WE WILL BE ON THE PAPERS”
The police also took the media to the other two locations.
At 137 Kitchener Road, in a unit above the Tampines Rovers clubhouse, reporters climbed a narrow staircase leading to partitioned rooms. They were decorated with plush sofas and flashing neon lights, with a disco ball hanging in a room.
It was a wasteland that operators had converted into a KTV space, police told reporters.
“We’re going to be in the papers,” said a client as reporters entered the room. “There are so many.”
The third location, also along Kitchener Road, would be office space, police said. The operators soundproofed the windows to avoid detection.
In all, UKTN observed 12 groups of clients in the three joints, two of which had more than eight people in one group.
Police were also seen grabbing TV screens, karaoke equipment and alcohol, loading them into a moving van.
THE POLICE WILL CONTINUE TO TAKE STRONG ENFORCEMENT MEASURES
Under the Public Entertainment Act and the Alcohol Control Act 2015, the offense of providing public entertainment or providing alcohol without a valid license is punishable by a fine of up to 20,000. Singaporean dollars.
Under the Foreign Labor Employment Act, the offense of employing a foreign employee without a valid employment card is punishable by a fine of S $ 5,000 to S $ 30,000, d ” a jail term of up to 12 months or both.
The law also states that those employed without a valid work card face a prison term of up to two years, a fine of up to S $ 20,000, or both.
Those who violate COVID-19 security distancing measures could be jailed for up to six months, fined up to S $ 10,000, or both.
Central Police Division Commander and Deputy Police Commissioner Gregory Tan said on Saturday morning that the raid was part of continued efforts by police to crack down on illegal public entertainment activities.
“Police are aware that unlicensed public entertainment centers are operating despite COVID-19 restrictions,” he said. “Violators will be treated strictly under the law.”