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Alcohol consumption in public areas of Little India remains banned on weekends

Published on Dec 18, 2013 5:41 PM
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Notices put up at a shop selling liquor in Little India, where the sale of alcohol was banned on Dec 14 and 15 2013. The ban of alcohol was put in place following a riot that occurred in Little India on Dec 8 2013. Alcohol consumption in public areas of Little India will continue to be banned on weekends, public holidays and the eve of public holidays, said the police on Wednesday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Alcohol consumption in public areas of Little India will continue to be banned on weekends, public holidays and the eve of public holidays, said the police on Wednesday.

But the 134 liquor and convenience stores in the zone will now be allowed to sell alcohol between 6am to 8pm on the affected days.

Another 240 establishments with public house or beer house licences - such as restaurants, hotels, pubs and coffee shops - will be allowed to sell alcohol at all times. But customers are only permitted to drink within the premises, and any consumption outside is a breach of the ban.

The consumption ban will start from 6am on Saturdays and end at 6am the following Monday, while on public holidays and the eve of public holidays, it starts at 6am on the eve, and will end only at 6am the day after the public holiday.

Enforced under the Public Order (Preservation) Act, the measures will cover the same area that was affected by a blanket ban of alcohol consumption and sales in Little India last weekend.

The police said there is "good reason" to believe that alcohol consumption and intoxication in public areas had contributed to the Dec 8 Little India riot, which was sparked by a fatal traffic accident involving Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33. The authority added that the ban will be strictly enforced, and any alcohol found to be consumed in public will be seized.

Sales of alcohol at the 134 liquor and convenience stores in the area - which sell alcohol for take-away - are allowed until 8pm on weekends, "when the crowd builds up in the evenings", the police said. This bars customers from having "easy access" to booze.

The police said any licensees found to allow take-away of alcohol or serve alcohol outside their premises will risk losing their liquor licence.

Action will also be taken against any customers found to be drunk and disorderly in public areas, the police said, adding that it will continue to maintain strong presence in the area.

These measures are expected to be in place for up to six months, until the Committee of Inquiry has made its recommendations. They will then be reviewed, taking into consideration the committee's recommendations, and feedback from an ongoing public consultation.