SINGAPORE - Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran, explaining the need for tougher laws on public drinking and the retail sale of alcohol, revealed that last year, there was one rioting incident and two cases of serious hurt each week that were liquor-related.
"And the trend has been on the rise. The incidents occurred across the island, with nine out of 10 occurring after 10.30pm," he said before the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill was presented for debate on Friday. Under the Bill, public drinking is banned from 10.30pm to 7pm, while shops have to stop the sale of takeaway liquor from 10.30pm.
He explained that in September 2012, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) started a review of liquor control measures after getting "considerable" public feedback on law and order concerns and disamenities due to people drinking in public and getting drunk. Complaints included those involving young people getting together to drink out in the open, creating noise and causing other disturbances. There were also concerns about people drinking at HDB void decks, playgrounds and other community spaces, leaving broken bottles and other litter.
Mr Iswaran, who is also Second Minister for Trade and Industry, revealed that last year there were 47 cases of rioting linked to the consumption of liquor. There were also 115 cases of serious hurt, which were related to drinking. These cases included stabbing, cutting using dangerous weapons, and inflicting severe bodily pain on victims.
"Also, over the last three years, there was an average of 530 cases of persons found to be drunk and incapable in public places," he said, adding that these numbers do not take into account the "many cases" of noise and other disturbances arising from public drinking, which are often unreported.