Police have arrested around 30 men in raids on two illegal gay spas last week in Malacca, Malaysia.
According to the Malaysia New Straits Times, the men – between the ages of 20 and 50 – were caught by police naked or partially naked in the raids.
Authorities apparently staked out the spas for a week following tip-offs from the public before taking action.
“During the raid at 9pm, we found most of the men in both spas clad in towels. Some of them were also found naked in one of the spas’ open shower area,” said Melaka Tengah, an official from one of the agencies involved in the raid.
It’s unclear what charges the arrested men will face.
The raid took place days before the public screening of Malaysia’s first gay themed movie this week.
Titled In A Bottle, it tells the story of a man who undergoes gender reassignment surgery in a bid to satisfy his male lover, but comes to regret the decision.
Many were surprised that the film was passed by the country’s conservative censorship board, but the body’s head, Mohamad Hussain Shafie, explained the decision to the Associated Press.
“If the movie had tried to glamorise the lifestyle of a gay person, it would be against our current standard guidelines. But the character repents in the end. We can say it is in line with our social values,” he said.
Homosexuality is illegal in the predominantly Islamic country with criminal penalties including fines, corporal punishment and prison sentences of up to 20 years.