Parliament: Police to assess hazards of coloured powder used at events in wake of Taiwan incident

A participant getting splashed with green-coloured powder during the Colour Run held on Aug 30, 2014. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - The authorities will assess the hazards posed by the use of coloured powder before next month's Colour Run event, and may impose additional measures to manage safety risks, Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran said on Tuesday.

He was responding to two questions raised in Parliament following a fire at a water park in Taiwan last month, where coloured powder that was being sprayed onto a crowd ignited, claiming three lives and leaving more than 500 people injured, including one Singaporean.

Taiwanese authorities have since banned events involving flammable coloured powder.

Mr Iswaran said the Colour Run event in Singapore, slated for August 22 and 23, will require a public entertainment licence as well as an SCDF permit to put up a temporary stage. Police and SCDF will assess factors such as public safety before granting the necessary approvals, he added.

If necessary, the police may also impose additional conditions to manage safety risks.

"This may include replacing combustible powder with non-combustible materials such as water mist, limiting the powder dispersal zone, disallowing sources of ignition within a certain radius, or prohibiting the discharge of powder at mass congregation areas such as the end point of the run," he said.

Police permits had previously been issued for the Colour Run events in 2013 and 2014, as well as for the annual Holi spring festival since 2012, said Mr Iswaran.

Whether coloured powder will be permitted in future events will depend on police and SCDF assessment of the safety risks posed by such activities.

"Arising from this recent episode that occurred in Taiwan, the police and SCDF, the authorities are looking in a more detailed manner into the incident, its causative factors and therefore what lessons we can draw from that and impose appropriate additional conditionality if such events are to continue in Singapore," he said.

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