Police raided the premises of the ‘Natural Beauty Harbor Salon’ in Male’ Tuesday evening (August 21) with officers discovering alcohol, forged US Dollars and materials used for sexual activities.
Police said Tuesday’s raid was part of a special operation launched jointly by the Drug Enforcement Department (DED) and Police Intelligence after authorities received reports that illegal drugs were being stored at the salon.
According to police, a search of the premises was conducted at 10:07pm, after officers obtained a search warrant from a local court.
Police said they discovered materials used for sexual activities, as well as controlled drugs, US$2000 in forged currency, a large amount of money suspected to have been gained through prostitution, five bottles of unspecified alcohol, and a further three empty bottles.
A 38 year-old Maldivian man and a 27 year-old Thai woman were inside the salon when police raided. Both have been arrested.
Police said the business was located at the third floor of Mahchangolhi Maaharaage’.
According to a report on online newspaper ‘Sun’, the Maldives Police Force has so far closed 22 properties believed to have been operated as brothels, since February. As part of this crackdown, 83 people have reportedly been arrested since the crackdowns began following the controversial transfer of power.
The paper said that the Islamic Ministry had claimed police have confiscated Rf63,000 and US$2,640 allegedly obtained through prostitution.
In June, the Home Ministry said that twelve brothels have been shut down in an operation launched by police after President Mohamed Waheed assumed office in February.
A month earlier, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs said it was formulating rules and guidelines for registering and operating alternative medicine centres, spas and beauty salons to prevent the use of such establishments as a front for prostitution.
Shutting down spas and massage parlours doubling as brothels was a key demand of a ‘mega protest’ on December 23 organised by eight political parties and religious NGOs to ‘Defend Islam’ against the alleged concerns of the liberal policies of the former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government.