In a concerning development, some massage establishments offering suspicious services in Singapore have come under scrutiny for allegedly accepting Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers meant to support heartland merchants and hawkers, according to a report by TODAY.
Dubious advertisements, often accompanied by suggestive content, have surfaced online, promoting services such as “Juagen massages” which involves the use of acupressure and other techniques to stimulate specific points on the male private part, as well as prostate massages.
These establishments claim to accept the government vouchers intended to defray living costs.
Since the launch of this year’s CDC vouchers on January 3, multiple massage parlours have reportedly encouraged customers to utilize half of their S$500 allotment on services that raise eyebrows.
Ads featuring suggestive images and explicit services have proliferated on Facebook, Telegram group chats, and other online platforms promoting massage services in Singapore.
Undercover Exposé: Special Services Offered
TODAY conducted an undercover operation, patronizing two massage establishments accepting CDC vouchers in mid-January. During standard hour-long body massages at both places, the attending masseuses reportedly offered “special services” which were declined by the undercover reporter.
Subsequently, police reports were filed, and the CDC was notified on the same day.
Regulatory Measures and Responses
The CDC vouchers, introduced in June 2020 to assist lower-income households and support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, allocate S$250 for spending at heartland retailers and the remaining S$250 at supermarkets.
Massage establishments fall under the Massage Establishments Act, and the police assured that they would investigate any violation of laws or licensing conditions, with potential suspension or revocation of licenses for serious offenses.
Responding to queries, the CDCs stated that they work closely with merchants, guiding them on the scheme and briefing them on terms and conditions. However, if any participating merchants are found to offer illicit services, they assert readiness to remove them from the scheme.