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28 Apr 2005

police arrest four men in singapore sauna

Four men were arrested in a gay sauna in Singapore after police who were reportedly on its premises to conduct a routine fire inspection found the men engaging in sexual activity. In a separate case, a well-known sauna announced its closure on its web site.

Four men have been arrested at a sauna located near the Bugis area on April 14. Sources told Fridae that the police arrived at the gay sauna at about 11pm for a routine fire inspection when they found the four men engaging in sexual activity in a dark room. They had apparently continued with their activities despite the lights being switched on to facilitate the inspection. It is not known if the men, whose identities are not known, were in pairs or in a group.

When contacted about the arrests, the police told Fridae they were unable to disclose any details as "police investigations are confidential."

The sauna, which has otherwise been forthcoming on issues pertaining to its establishment, has noticeably stayed silent on the case.

It is not known if or when the four will be charged.

Two years ago, two men were arrested at another sauna by three undercover police officers who posed as customers. According to an online report on the Singapore gay Yawning Bread site, the pair was arrested on the evening of July 23, 2001, after one party admitted that they were having sex after being asked to leave their cubicle and confronted by an officer.

The men were originally charged under Section 377A of the Penal Code which states that: "Any male person who, in public or private, commits or abets the commission of or procures the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years."

The charges were amended to one under Section 20 of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act which prohibits "riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in any public road or in any public place."

They were each fined S$600 (US$364).

Meanwhile, Rairua, a popular men's sauna owned by gay activist Alex Au closed on Monday without warning. On its web site, it read: "We are closed. We thank everyone for your support and we hope to be of service to you again soon."

Au, when contacted, declined to reveal the reasons for the closure.


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