The following news story was spotted on the blog of a local gay blogger – the original newsletter that was sent out is not available for linking. Club 1-7 is a male-only sauna, and such saunas are popularly associated with cruising venues for queer men.
From 1-7 newsletter
Our water supply was turned off at 10pm on the 25th April 2008, Saturday. When we opened the back door to investigate and turn it back on, a few plain-clothed officers from the CID rushed in. Sam immediately tried to stop them and demanded to know what was going on. They told him that they were conducting a ’spot-check’. When asked what they were checking for, they simply repeated ’spot-check’. the officers refused to specify what they were checking for despite repeated demands. Sam also asked if they had a warrant to check the premises. They refused to reply.
At this point in time, we turned on all the lights upstairs and downstairs to alert the members that a check was going on. None of the members were stopped from dressing or leaving, nor were they searched or any particulars taken.
When a female officer tried to enter, Sam repeatedly shouted that she was not allowed to enter as we are a private men’s club and insisted that she leave. Thereupon, the supervising officer threw Sam to the ground and twisted his arms behind his back to handcuff him. Because of this, Sam sustained cuts to his wrist and bruises on his left rib, for which he was later brought to the Singapore General Hospital for treatment.
The officers only removed several DVDs and Sam was arrested and spent the night in jail. He has been charged with assaulting (pushing) the officer that handcuffed him despite never having laid hands upon him. Sam is 74 years old. The officer was about 40.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused and will give a free return visit to anyone who was here when the incident occurred – just tell the front desk.
We are open for business as usual for our 8TH YEAR from 11:30am to 11:30pm on weekdays and from 11:30am till 7am the following day on Fridays and Saturdays.
Club One Seven.
Editor’s Note: The above letter has been edited for minor grammar and spelling, but the content has not been altered.
We are aware that this is only the point of view from Club 1-7, and there has been no official media release on the matter. We are also aware that no one was actually charged with s377A, which reads as follows:
Outrages on decency.
377A. Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure 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 2 years.
Given the above version of events are true, the questions to ask ourselves are such:
1. What was the police doing there without a search warrant?
2. What were they looking for? We are assuming it is not Mas Selamat.
3. Given the authorities have repeatedly promised not to use s377A during the recent parliamentary debates, why are the police raiding the premise? As a scare tactic? If we have been told we can live our lives in peace, why the (unauthorised) raid on a private establishment?
4. How do you lawfully charge someone with assault when the law enforcement officer initiated the aggression, and the accused did not defend himself?
Sayoni believes that raids like this are reason enough not to trust the authorities on their word that s377A will never be enforced, and hence we should not be stopping our efforts to repeal this antiquated provision. It is a Damocles Sword which might drop at any second- it gives the police a legitimate excuse to intrude in our activities, sexual or otherwise.