Two men fined $4,000 each for selling alcohol in Little India illegally

Yeo Eng Hock (left) and Tan Suan Lee (right) were each fined $4,000 on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014, for selling alcohol illegally in Little India in the aftermath of the Dec 8 riot. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
Yeo Eng Hock (left) and Tan Suan Lee (right) were each fined $4,000 on Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014, for selling alcohol illegally in Little India in the aftermath of the Dec 8 riot. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Two men were each fined $4,000 on Wednesday for selling alcohol illegally in Little India in the aftermath of the Dec 8 riot.

The unrest involving about 400 Indian and Bangladeshi workers had resulted in restrictions on the sale of alcohol in the area, but both men contravened them.

In the first case, Tan Suan Lee was found selling beer in his restaurant in Jalan Besar though at 12.50am on Dec 22 by police officers conducting checks. He had no licence to sell alchohol.

The 44-year-old proprietor of Prata City, who had pleaded guilty on Jan 8 to committing the offence, begged for a lenient sentence in court on Wednesday. But Deputy Public Prosecutor Lin Yinbing asked the court to impose a penalty higher than the $1,000 fine imposed in past cases. She said that Tan had been serving alcohol without a licence since opening the restaurant more than a year ago.

"He had also continued selling beer during a time when public consumption of alcohol was restricted... and had undermined the government's efforts to restore safety and security in Little India after the riot," she added.

Separately, Yeo Eng Hock, 59, of Yeo Buan Heng Liquor Shop in Chander Road pleaded guilty on Wednesday to selling a can of stout to a customer at 12.46am on Dec 22. This contravened an order by the police and the Liquor Licensing Board for the suspension of liquor licences in Little India between 8pm on Dec 21 to 6am on Dec 22.

In mitigation, Yeo said a drunk had kicked the door of his shop that night and he feared the drunk man would beat him up.

"In a moment of carelessness, I forget about the regulations imposed by the authorities and sold the can of stout," he said in Mandarin.

The maximum penalty for each man is a $5,000 fine.