KUANTAN: A total of 158 individuals, including 128 foreign women, were arrested in 27 raids, involving restaurants, hotels and entertainment centres, during the month-long operations dubbed Op Noda Khas, to crack down on prostitution activities in the state.

Pahang police chief, Datuk Seri Yahaya Othman, said that they were arrested in the operations carried out from Feb 27 to March 31, in several locations in Kuantan, Temerloh, Bentong, Raub, Lipis and Jerantut.

“Out of the number arrested, aged 20 to 56, 21 men and eight women are locals, who are owners and caretakers of entertainment centres, restaurants and massage parlours.

“A total of 128 foreign women (arrested) consisting of 97 Thai nationals, nine (Indonesia), eight (Laos), nine (Vietnamese) and five (China), who are suspected of being involved in prostitution and GRO activities,” he said in a statement today.

He said that the police also took action against seven entertainment premises which were using restaurant licences to carry out their activities, and employed foreign women to serve customers.

Yahaya said that the investigation was conducted under Section 55B of the Immigration Act 1969/63, for employing and protecting foreign workers without a valid work permit; Section 15(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for overstaying; Section 372B of the Penal Code for offering sex for prostitution as well as Regulation 39B of the Immigration Regulations 1963 for violating pass conditions.

He said that the investigation was also carried out under Section 4(1)(b) of the Pahang State Entertainment Enactment 1993, for running a business without a valid entertainment licence, and Rule 30 of the Pahang State Entertainment Enactment 1993, for running an entertainment business beyond the stipulated time.

“The operations were carried out to combat immoral and prostitution activities, and to take action on entertainment premises which operate without a valid licence, and premises owners and employers are reminded not to violate the provisions of the law by employing and protecting foreign workers without a valid permit,” he said. -Bernama

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