Teens targeted in clampdown on karaoke clubs

08:38, February 11, 2010      

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The city is tightening its supervision of entertainment venues as more and more teenagers flock to karaoke clubs during school holidays for Spring Festival.

Shanghai Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Unit said it was aware of some karaoke television clubs, or KTVs, being lax in checking the age of their patrons.

Rules specify people younger than the age of 18 are not allowed entry to KTVs and other entertainment venues that are deemed to be unhealthy to the personal development of juveniles. The list also includes Internet cafes, night clubs and video game halls.

KTV operators, however, said young people make up the majority of their customers during the holiday seasons.

"Winter break is always one of the peak times for us and teenagers are one of our major customer groups," said a female staff member surnamed Chen at a KTV on east Nanjing road in Huangpu district.

"We don't mind paying the fines for admitting under-aged customers," she said. "The fines are a small amount compared to the potential income."

KTV operators said they don't usually check the identity cards of their customers.

"We depend on experience to identify the under-aged among the teenagers and by the way they dress and talk," said a spokesman of Shanghai Gecheng, one of the largest karaoke chains in the city.

Juveniles complain the regulations are "out of date and too strict".

Pan Bo, a 17-year-old high school student in the district, said: "KTV is clean and healthy. I don't see anything filthy at all. It's just a place for fun. We deserve a little fun after such a long term at school. We teenagers also need a social life."

A spokesman with Shanghai Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Unit said many people hoped that the regulations would change "to keep pace with the times". Until then, it is important to stick to current regulations, he added.

Source: China Daily
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