Beware Of Illegal Massage Parlours In Singapore

illegal massage parlour in singapore

On the tiny island that is less than 750 km square, Singapore does not really have many recreational activities except for eating, shopping and of course massage. After a long week of work, you hope to go for a relaxing massage at one of the parlours nearby your home.

Massage parlours have been a booming business in Singapore due to such demands and you can find a massage parlour, either traditional foot reflexology or full body oil massage, these parlours are just littered across entire Singapore. From the cheapest available in neighbourhood shophouses to the first-class massage in 5-star hotels. Some of these operate till 3 am or 4 am in the morning.

massage parlour lavender streeet
A row of spas and massage parlours in Lavender Street.

Needless to say, these have also promoted the entry of sleazy massage parlours which offers “happy ending” massage to customers as well. These parlours are littered in locations near nightclubs like Orchard Towers and Chinatown Point. Unlike Vietnam, where there are tonnes of barbershops full of beautiful girls waiting to serve you, these sleazy massage parlours are concealed enough to hide under the skin of the police’s radars.

Harsher Penalties On unlicensed massage parlours

orchard towers massage parlour
A masseuse soliciting for customers outside a massage parlour at Orchard Towers.

Things were getting out of hand and there were more and more “happy ending” massage parlours sprouting in the country and the police decided to crack down on these establishments. Initially, these establishments were only fined S$ 1,000 without any jail term but things took a turn quickly.

Accordingly to the statistics, the police detect 40% more unlicensed massage parlours between 2013 and 2016. In 2016 alone, there were nearly 300 massages unlicensed establishments which 40% engaged in vice-related offences. This lead to a drastic revision of the unlicensed massage establishment penalty in 2017 as the government thinks that the fine is too little to hurt the pockets of these illegal massage operators, especially those engaged in vice activities.

The revised regulations states that first-time offenders running without a licence could now face a fine of up to $10,000, and up to two years in jail. Repeat offenders could have their penalties doubled or more: a fine up to $20,000 and/or jail for up to 5 years.

Massage Establishment Act

Landlords to share the blame as well

Besides the massage operator, the government also put the responsibility onto the landlords as well. Under the same regulation, landlords need to take reasonable steps to vacant such errant tenants within a month to they too will face the same penalties.

At the same time, the police have also warned that they can “use reasonable force” to vacate unlicensed massage operators should they continue to run their business after they have been charged. There is another penalty for those that do not stop their business activities after being charged to prevent recalcitrant unlicensed massage operators from blatantly breaching the law whilst court proceedings against them are ongoing.

Those that flout the order to stop operations may face a maximum fine of $15,000, imprisonment of up to three years, or both 

Shorter Hours For Massage Parlours

In order to fight against vice-related massage parlours that provide “happy endings” services, the government has decided to shorten the working hours of massage parlours nationwide. Although this was to curb the unhealthy activities, this has also seriously affected those in legit business.

In August 2017, the authorities restricted massage parlours in Housing Board (HDB) estates to operate only from 6 am to 11 pm. (HDB is a public housing by the government for the local community).

In March 2018, further restrictions were in place for other massage parlours as well. Those that are CaseTrust accredited or conduct their services in plain view will have their working hours shorten from 7 am to 10.30 pm. Those without accreditation will have to abide by shorter hours – from 10 am to 10.30 pm.

However, there is leeway for some establishments. Below are the scenarios

  • CaseTrust accredited massage parlours in designated areas like Orchard Road or Changi Airport (mostly towards tourism)
  • Parlours that are completely exempted from requiring a license and can continue to operate round the clock.
    • Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) clinics
    • Fsh spas and manicurists.
    • Hospitals (doubt anyone would want to have a massage there)

Where to find authentic Late-Night massage ?

Of course, there are hotspots for massage parlours establishment are littered in areas like Chinatown, Little India, Jalan Besar, Middle Road, Jalan Sultan and Coleman Street. These areas provide a mixture of traditional massage and “special services” massage parlours. If you are not really sure, do ask before trying out the service.

The other solutions, to check whether if the massage parlour establishment is legit, you can try searching through the CaseTrust Accredited Business, Spa & Wellness Association Singapore or Spa Association Singapore.

Last but not the least, you can check massage/spa reviews from local bloggers to gauge the services provided by these massage parlours.

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