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SINGAPORE - May 3, 2005

Four men were arrested by police on April 14 for engaging in sexual activity inside a private gay men's sauna. Homosexual activity in Singapore is against the law and and hotel rooms and saunas are both considered public spaces by authorities.

Singapore still hauls out dusty antique British Colonial laws when it wants to harass and criminalize homosexuals (and even straight couples who engage in oral sex).

After four years of relative freedom for the local gay community, officials seem to be once again ratcheting up the anti-gay rhetoric which might have lead to these latest arbitrary arrests (tens of thousands of Singapore's 150,000+ homosexual citizens are having sex every day -- get used to it already).

This case appears to be the first since two men were caught in another gay sauna in 2001. In that case the victims were originally charged under Section 377A of the Penal Code which states "Any male person who, in public or private, commits or abets the commission of or procures 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."

Later, the charge was amended to Section 20 of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act (Cap 184, 1997 Ed) which states: "Any person who is found guilty of any riotous, disorderly or indecent behaviour in any public road or in any public place or place of public amusement or resort, or in the immediate vicinity of, or in, any court, public office, police station or place of worship, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$1,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding S$2,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months."

The men in the 2001 case were eventually fined S$600 each.

Click here for full details of the 2001 case.


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