Orchard Towers clubs & bars to shut by May 2023, police say licences will not be renewed due to 'concerns'

12 commercial units are affected.

Lee Wei Lin | August 13, 2022, 03:31 PM

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Nightclubs and bars at Orchard Towers will shut their doors for the last time in May 2023.

A total of 12 commercial units have been notified that their respective Public Entertainment Licences will not be renewed beyond then, according to The Straits Times (ST).

Concerns over public safety, vice activities and nuisance

A police spokesperson told ST that the "law and order situation in Orchard Towers remains as of concern and has not improved over the years".

They noted a "consistently high volume of and strong feedback from nearby residents and neighbouring developments on concerns over public safety, vice activities and nuisance" which they attribute to the nightclubs and bars located there.

Notice came as a surprise

Landlords and operators affected by the move claimed that the notice came as a surprise as many of them renewed their leases when it was announced that nightlife businesses could reopen from Apr. 19, 2022.

According to one landlord, who declined to be named, this "blanket ban penalises many landlords and operators unfairly" as they are "willing to work with the authorities to deal with the problems", and feel that "specific operators" should be penalised if they contribute to these issues.

Operators also alleged that vice activities are facilitated by the beauty salons in the building, rather than the nightclubs.

Beauty salons are not required to apply for a police licence unless massage services or treatments are provided.

ST noted that there were "dozens of scantily clad women" asking men to enter these beauty salons when they visited. There were also women in clubs claiming to be on "holiday" who would approach men to buy them drinks in exchange for "companionship".

A short history of Orchard Towers

When Orchard Towers opened in 1975, it was supposed to be a family-friendly retail hub of sorts.

Over the years, it's been linked to sex and violence.

Vice activities that have taken place there has led to the development being referred to as the "Four Floors Of Whores".

The most recent murder case happened on July 2, 2019.

One of the seven involved, Tan Sen Yang, is still pending trial for murder.

Top photo from Google Maps.