You've got to be VIP for 'extra services'

You've got to be VIP for 'extra services'

A pub owner was recently put behind bars for recruiting women to work in a chain of pubs as prostitutes. So what really goes on in such bars? The New Paper on Sunday finds out.

Unless you are a big spender or a regular face on the premises, chances are you won't be offered any "extra" or "special" services.

In other words, you have to be a VIP guest if you are expecting some action inside the bars, better known as "clubs" and "pubs" to those familiar with the premises.

These include a former mamasan who was convicted in 2008 and patrons, some with girls, that we cornered at popular supper spots in Geylang and Havelock Road.

We also spoke to a bouncer who retired in 2012 after working in the industry for nearly 40 years.

All of them refused to name the bars. Instead, they offered only road names and generic areas such as Jalan Besar, Geylang and Orchard.

There are basically three categories of clubs, says the ex-bouncer, who has worked in more than 15 clubs.

He says in a mix of Mandarin and Hokkien: "You got the lup sup (Hokkien for dirty) bars in the lowest class, where the girls charge less for their services. At these bars, the patrons are mostly the blue-collar workers.

"The middle-class ones are frequented by the man-on-the-street, while the high-class ones are, of course, your KTV lounges."

He adds that some pubs have cubicles that allow their patrons some form of privacy. Women will activate a smoke machine when they get intimate with clients.

Some operators also install security cameras, which allow them to monitor the activities inside the club.

He says: "Other than watching out for the cops, the feeds also allow the operators to ensure that the girls are not being harassed or engaging in sexual activities without informing the management and pocketing the money."

But many pub operators prefer not to allow sexual activities inside their establishments as they don't want to risk being busted, he points out.

"So any action is negotiated outside the clubs.

The former mamasan, who was fined for helping to manage a brothel, agrees.

She says: "Tip-offs to the authorities are typically made by disgruntled customers or those who are jealous of the business.

"So you can't tell when the police is going to walk in."

In the case where she was charged, the hostesses in the KTV lounge were told to perform topless dances and sexual services for their customers inside the toilet cubicles.

She says: "The women were told specifically that they must not have sex, even inside the private KTV rooms.

"We were discreet and yet we got caught."

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