Police conduct early-morning raid on Zouk

The police operation began at about 2am yesterday, with patrons held back and eventually released in groups, said one clubber.

SINGAPORE - A fun night out at one of Singapore's most celebrated nightspots, Zouk, ground abruptly to a halt after the police conducted a three-hour raid there early yesterday morning.

The police operation started at about 2am, with partygoers held back and eventually released in groups of 20, said Ms Skii Chung, 24, executive editor of pop culture website Popspoken, who was there with her friends.

"There were no signs of unruly behaviour but, after an hour or so, people in the crowd started raising their voices and asking why they couldn't be let out," said Ms Chung, who left the club at about 3am.

A user on social media platform Instagram by the name of "parisfrenchfry" snapped a picture of police officers standing outside the club, and claimed she was body-searched.

When contacted, a police spokesman confirmed that an operation had taken place yesterday morning along Jiak Kim Street, where the club is located. The Straits Times understands that the raid ended at about 4.45am.

The raid comes as Zouk grabbed headlines in the past two weeks, after owner Lincoln Cheng said it might have to bid goodbye to its Jiak Kim Street home if it does not get a three-year lease extension.

More than 27,000 supporters have signed an online appeal to get Zouk's lease extended, but the Urban Redevelopment Authority has stood firm on its stance that Zouk must find a new site.

The reason for yesterday's raid is not known. It is also not known if anyone was arrested during the operation.

Responding to queries, Zouk's business development and public relations head Sofie Chandra said that the police conduct such raids on "an ad hoc basis".

About 2,000 clubbers - two-thirds of the club's capacity - turned up yesterday. Some were eager to catch German trance DJs Cosmic Gate, who were to perform between 1am and 2am. The duo cancelled their gig as they could not enter Zouk.

They apologised to fans on their Twitter account and said: "We were waiting to even play for a few minutes for you guys... but police made it impossible for us to even get in."

Management executive Jaclyn Hsu, 26, who goes clubbing at venues such as Fenix Room at Clarke Quay and Zouk about twice a month, has experienced occasional raids.

"Usually the music stops and the lights come on... I've seen people's IDs getting checked. Sometimes it's a bit troublesome but I understand because they may be checking for illegal activities."

Mr Dennis Foo, president of the Singapore Nightlife Business Association, said: "Routine checks are inherent in the nightlife industry... Operators generally do not mind as it also serves to reduce law and order issues."


This article was first published on June 30, 2014.
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