SINGAPORE — The operator of a KTV outlet at Jalan Besar admitted on Wednesday (7 October) to allowing two men and two hostesses into his premises to drink alcohol and sing during Phase 1 of Singapore’s reopening.
Leow Keng Chun, the operator and occupier of DRINKITUP, was aware at the time that the outlet was not allowed to be in operation due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Apart from breaches of COVID-19 measures, Leow, a 39-year-old Singaporean, also did not have a valid public entertainment license or liquor license to operate the outlet.
Leow pleaded guilty to one charge each of providing public entertainment and liquor without licenses, and one charge of failing to close the outlet to an individual during Phase 1.
Leow began accepting reservations from 2 June 2020 at DRINKITUP, which is located at 237 Jalan Besar, within the Liquor Control Zone. Two men made a reservation on 5 June to sing and drink alcohol.
Leow allowed them to enter by the shuttered back entrance at 9.30pm and arranged for two Vietnamese women to be present as hostesses.
He sold beer towers to the two men at $100 each and permitted them to use the KTV system. He also did not enforce the wearing of masks or any other precautionary measure. The two men played dice games and sang with the women, whom they intended to tip $200 for their companionship at the end of the night.
At around 11pm, a team of police officers conducting enforcement checks at the area caught Leow, who admitted that there were five other persons in his outlet. The fifth person was the main tenant of the building, who was in a separate room in the outlet at the time. Leow would pay monthly rent to the tenant.
The police officers later forced entry into the outlet where they found the five individuals.
The prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Koh, sought a total fine of $13,000 for Leow. She noted that the group was in the same room for about 90 minutes until the police arrived and that no precautionary measures had been taken.
Leow had known that the KTV outlet was not allowed to operate and took steps to avoid detection by letting his customers in from the back entrance.
“The door to the outlet was also locked from the inside and police officers had to break a glass panel in order to effect entry,” said DPP Koh.
Unrepresented, Leow told District Judge Adam Nakhoda that he did not have “any revenue” due to the pandemic and asked for time to raise funds to pay his fine.
The judge then adjourned sentencing so that Leow could raise the money. Leow will return to court on 5 November.
For opening the KTV outlet to other persons in breach of COVID-19 measures, Leow could have been fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to six months, or both.
For supplying liquor for consumption without a license, he could be fined up to $20,000. As his outlet is within the Liquor Control Zone, Leow may be liable to up to one-and-a-half times the penalty.
For providing any public entertainment without a licence, he can be fined up to $20,000.
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