SINGAPORE - A 52-year-old man who drank beer with his friends near his home was on Thursday (May 5) fined the maximum $1,000 after he pleaded guilty to a charge of consuming liquor in a public place during prohibited hours (between 10.30pm and 7am).
A district court heard that at about 11 pm on Feb 22, Tan Gak Hin, whose occupation is not known, met four friends at a bench near Block 279, Bishan Street 24 - a five-minute walk from his home.
At about 2.25am the next morning, someone from the next block called the police to say that there had been shouting in the area for the past half an hour.
A policeman found Tan and his friends sitting on the bench at about 2.40am. They were drinking beer and reeked of alcohol.
"The (officer) then notified them of the infringement under (the) Liquor Control Act and advised them to dispose of the remaining cans of beer (and) they acknowledged and complied with the directions," the court heard from a police prosecutor.
In mitigation, Tan told the court through an interpreter that he did not break the law deliberately. He said he had been on his way home when he saw his friends drinking, and they invited him to join them.
Tan, who did not have a lawyer, told District Judge Ronald Gwee that he will not repeat the offence.
The maximum punishment for consuming liquor in a public place during a prescribed no public drinking period is a fine of $1,000, on a first conviction. Repeat offenders face a maximum punishment of a $2,000 fine and three months' jail.
According to the police, this is the first such prosecution under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act, which was passed in Parliament in January last year. It took effect from April last year.
Tan had been caught for the same offence twice before. The first time, he was given a warning, while the second time, he paid a composition fine.