Published: 20 November 2018
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what has been the highest number of massage establishment licences issued to outlets within the same building and within the same neighbourhood precinct; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider a cap on such licences issued within a defined locality, especially where such congregation of massage establishments are in close proximity of residential housing.
1. The Member asked about the highest number of massage establishment (ME) licences issued within a building and a neighbourhood precinct. On the former, People’s Park Complex has 12 licensed MEs. The Police do not track such data on a precinct level.
2. It would not be meaningful to look at such figures on their own, or for that matter, impose caps on the number of MEs allowed per locality. The Police assess applications to operate MEs on a case-by-case basis. They consider factors such as the suitability of the location, whether the proposed ME will cause dis-amenities to the surrounding areas, as well as the characteristics of the businesses there. The Police also take into account feedback from the residents and the Advisers.
3. The Massage Establishments Act that came into force earlier this year was introduced to reduce the disamenities from MEs. Operating hours for all MEs, other than those in designated areas such as Orchard Road or Marina Bay, will be restricted, and in particular they must close by 10.30pm daily. The conditions for MEs in HDB estates are even stricter. They must obtain a Category One licence under the Police licensing framework, obtain CaseTrust accreditation, put in a minimum capital investment of $50,000, and have a minimum floor area of 100 square metres.
4. The Police will continue to take strict enforcement action against errant MEs. Unlicensed ME operators face a fine of up to $20,000, or 5 years’ imprisonment, or both. Licensed ME operators who commit regulatory breaches face a fine of up to $10,000, or 2 years’ imprisonment years, or both.