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Police enforcement stepped up at Orchard Towers, with more patrols and CCTVs: MHA

SINGAPORE — The police have stepped up enforcement at Orchard Towers, with more Special Operations Command troops patrolling the area, as well as the installation of more closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs).

Police enforcement stepped up at Orchard Towers, with more patrols and CCTVs: MHA

Parliament heard that police have stepped up patrols around Orchard Towers and that additional CCTV cameras have been installed.

SINGAPORE — The police have stepped up enforcement at Orchard Towers, with more Special Operations Command troops patrolling the area, as well as the installation of more closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs).

Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs, said in response to questions from several Members of Parliament (MP) that 18 anti-vice operations were conducted last year at Orchard Towers and its vicinity, which led to the arrest of 76 vice workers.

“These operations were on top of police’s regular checks,” he told the House on Monday (Aug 5).

Mr Amrin said that the police also detected seven unlicensed massage establishments in the building last year, which have since been shut down. The building now houses three licensed massage establishments, a number which has been reducing over the past three years.

Several MPs asked questions about the law-and-order situation at Orchard Towers, which recently made headlines over an alleged murder on July 2. The case is before the courts.

The building has long been associated with vice and sleaze due to the “Thai discos” and massage parlours which operate there.

Supplementary questions were raised by several MPs, including Mr Melvin Yong, MP for Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC). 

Describing his experience doing a walkabout at Orchard Towers, which is located within his ward, Mr Yong said that there were several beauty salons which seemed to provide more services beyond what their licences permit.

He asked whether action would be taken against these beauty salons, which may be circumventing the licensing regime, and whether a cap would be set on the number of public entertainment outlets in one single development.

With 29 public entertainment establishments already at Orchard Towers, Mr Amrin said that the police are “unlikely” to grant new public entertainment licences at the building.

Beauty salons are also not allowed to provide massage services without the relevant licence, and operators found to flout such regulations would be liable to penalties, he said.

While Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Christopher de Souza suggested that the police prioritise anti-vice raids at Orchard Towers, Nee Soon GRC MP Louis Ng questioned whether increasing enforcement would be effective in addressing the root of the problem.

“Are we tackling this vice issue or are we just going to move them to another place, which means we have an Orchard Towers 'Part Two'? (If the latter) then we’re really spending our resources just chasing our tail,” Mr Ng said. 

In response, Mr Amrin noted the need for "an outlet for people to entertain themselves". The key is to ensure that law and order is maintained, he stressed. 

Related topics

orchard towers crime vice police massage parlours Parliament

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