JOHOR BARU: A number of foreign women and men were picked up in several raids on massage centres and spas in the city centre here.
Nine foreign women and a 16-year-old girl, believed to have been exploited as sex workers, were rescued by the police.
The police saved the women, comprising eight Vietnamese and two Chinese nationals aged 16 to 34, during an operation codenamed Ops Noda that was conducted from 8pm on Saturday to 5am yesterday.
Johor CID chief Senior Asst Comm Azman Ayob said that 30 masseuses aged 18 to 28 were also detained during the raids on five centres here.
He said the women comprised seven Thai nationals, 20 Vietnamese and three Indonesians, while nine men, aged 28 to 55, who are believed to be acting as the centres’ caretakers, were also arrested.
“The caretakers were detained for operating the centres without valid licences and hiring the foreigners without proper work permits,” he said in a statement yesterday.
He added that they could be charged under the Johor State Entertainment Enactment and the State Government Act, while the masseuses could face action under the Immigration Act.
“Police also detained 17 customers, all men aged 23 to 41 years and their statements were taken to facilitate investigations,” he said, adding that six of them were Singaporeans.
SAC Azman said that on the same night, the police conducted checks on 36 men, including seven China nationals aged 30 to 52, at a pub located in the city centre.
He said RM7,760 in cash, 77 condoms, 27 massage oil bottles, 20 towels and eight tissue rolls were also seized.
SAC Azman also noted that from January to June this year, Johor police had conducted more than 600 raids under Ops Noda, including 400 cases that had been brought to court.
“The police will continue to beef up efforts in combating activities that could cause public nuisance,” he added.