Sumary of The institutional failures behind Singapore’s latest COVID outbreak:
- Most of these KTVs are not innocent family-friendly affairs: Like another outbreak in Taiwan earlier this year, they are fronts for illegal brothels run by organized crime cartels.
- It is an open secret that despite a reputation for being hard on crime and moral policing, KTV-fronted illegal brothels employing freelance hostesses, or sex workers, have been operating in Singapore for decades.
- Run behind the scenes by the same organized crime groups, these illegal brothels have become a normalized, even integral, part of many business dealings — particularly among local and mainland Chinese business communities — as well as serving as money laundering fronts for the criminal enterprises bankrolling their operations.
- Singapore authorities have now belatedly increased punitive raids on bistro KTVs, arrested some illegal sex workers and imposed a blanket shutdown on all such pivoted businesses.
- These measures have been lambasted as too little, too late by a public now suffering under yet another round of lockdown measures, including renewed bans on dining in and group gathering sizes reduced to two.
- Who allowed such shocking lapses of oversight of such businesses, and why were complaints from family-friendly, legal KTVs about the resurgence of illegal KTV brothels ignored?
- Most foreign sex workers in Singapore are employed illegally after entering the country on short-term visitor or student visas, despite multiple efforts over the years to clamp down on such abuses.
- But hundreds of people had already entered the country and disappeared into the underground vice industry, many of them plying their trades in KTV brothels until the latest outbreak.