Alcohol ban extended at Tekka Food Centre

People drinking beer at Tekka Centre's hawker centre on Sept 28, 2014.
People drinking beer at Tekka Centre's hawker centre on Sept 28, 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

Police yesterday explained why they have decided to impose tougher restrictions on Sunday night drinking at Tekka Food Centre.

From Aug 1, drinks stall owners there will be allowed to sell alcohol only from 6am to 6pm on Sundays, instead of 6am to midnight, as is currently the case.

Stallholders were sent letters informing them of the change last Friday. Many of them believe it could affect their business.

Police said they had received feedback about "large congregations of drinkers within confined areas" at the centre on Sunday evenings, adding that they could "pose law and order threats". They decided on the restrictions after consulting residents, business owners and other agencies.

However, drinks stall owners at the centre are appealing for the restriction to be rescinded.

The owner of Star Hot and Cold Drinks, who wanted to be known only as Mr Neo, 35, said he and his peers had appealed against a similar letter in June, adding: "We will appeal again." Beer makes up "30 to 40 per cent" of his revenue.

The owner of Wah Heng Coffee Stall, said: "The amount of beer I sell on a Sunday evening is enough to make up for four or five week days."

Madam Li Xue Hua, 51, owner of Tian Ming Sliced Fish Soup Noodle, which sells barbecued chicken wings, said: "No one will buy them now, because people usually buy chicken wings to go with beer."

Nine stall owners signed the second appeal letter on Tuesday, calling for the ban to start at 10pm.

Police said that since the Liquor Control Act came in last year, they have "received positive feedback from community partners and residents that the measures.. have been effective in maintaining public order and preventing disamenities in most neighbourhoods".

Residents welcomed the new restrictions. Retiree Raj Chinniah, 50, said he is put off by the drunk and unruly crowd. "When I'm home on Sundays, I don't go down to the food centre, because I feel uncomfortable sitting there."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2016, with the headline 'Alcohol ban extended at Tekka Food Centre'. Subscribe