Stricter rules in Geylang and Little India as alcohol laws kick in

SINGAPORE - Public drinking will be banned in Geylang and Little India from 7am on Saturday to 7am Monday every week from April 1.

The ban also applies from 7pm of the eve of a public holiday to 7am of the day after the public holiday, under the new Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a press release on Tuesday.

Shops in Geylang and Little India are also not allowed to sell takeaway alcohol from 7pm on weekends, eve of public holidays, and public holidays instead of 10.30pm.

These additional rules come on top of the restrictions under the new law, which bans drinking in all public places and the retail sale of alcohol from 10.30pm to 7am every day.

The law, which was passed in Parliament in January, will come into force on April 1, or after 23.59 on Tuesday. It aims to curb public drinking to minimise public disorder and disamenities.

Geylang and Little India are designated as Liquor Control Zones - places where there is higher risk of public disorder associated with excessive drinking. Flouting the rules in Liquor Control Zones will carry 1 1/2 times the penalty.

Geylang

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Little India

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Meanwhile, MHA said that members of the public can continue to drink if they have a valid permit issued by the National Parks Board to organise a barbecue in a national park, including East Coast Park, Sembawang Park and West Coast Park.

For events held in public places, organisers of the events may apply for a consumption permit from the police if the events involve drinking during the restricted hours.

The ministry added that Police may grant an extension of retail sale hours on a case-by-case basis.

"In considering an application for extension, the police will take into account the propensity for public disorder and disamenities, as well as additional measures that licensees are prepared to put in place to reduce public disorder and disamenities..."

Under the Act, those found guilty of drinking after 10.30pm in a public place will face a fine of up to $1,000. A repeat offender may be jailed for up to three months.

A shop which sells alcohol after permitted hours may get a fine not exceeding $10,000.

But MHA stressed that the police will take a "calibrated and even-handed" approach in enforcing the law.

If a person is caught drinking illegally, police will take down his particulars in the first instance and ask him to dispose of the alcohol. If there is public annoyance, police can also ask the person to leave the place. If he complies, no further action will be taken.

For more information, visit:

www.ifaq.gov.sg/SPF/apps/fcd_faqmain.aspx#TOPIC_9301