Published: 13 April 2015
Mr Zainal Sapari: asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the rationale for requiring spa operators to obtain CaseTrust accreditation if they wish to have their business located in HDB estates; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider relaxing the licensing requirements for spa operators located in HDB estates which serve female clients only.
Written reply by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs :
1. Spas are regulated as Massage Establishments (ME) under the ME Act. As MEs have and can be used as fronts for illicit vice activities and cause law and order and social problems, Police’s licensing framework imposes different qualifying criteria and operating conditions for the different types of MEs.
2. There are three categories of MEs licensed by Police - Category I, Category II and Exempted MEs. Category I MEs are expected to meet high operating standards and have the most stringent qualifying criteria, including the requirement to obtain CaseTrust accreditation. As Category I MEs meet more stringent qualifying criteria, there are fewer restrictions on where they can operate.
3. Category I MEs are allowed to operate in HDB estates. The higher standards set for such MEs will help to avoid illicit activities and law and order problems in HDB estates.
4. Operators under the “Exempted ME” category can also apply to operate in HDB estates. This category of MEs has to abide by tighter operating conditions, which include having no partitions or cubicles within the premises, and ensuring that all areas in the premises where massage services are carried out are visible from outside the premises. Any applications under this category must meet these criteria, and are subject to approval.
5. Under the ME Act, there is no distinction between establishments that claim to serve only male or female clients.