Quiet night out after alcohol curbs kick in

Fewer people, less litter seen at public places popular with drinkers

THE contrast could not have been more stark.

In the first weekend after alcohol restrictions kicked in here, the rowdy revellers and piles of litter at popular public drinking spots were absent.

Read Bridge at Clarke Quay, previously packed with over 300 drinkers who loitered there until the early hours, had only about one-third that number of people when The Straits Times visited after the cut-off time of 10.30pm. Most were not drinking openly.

Absent also were the leftover cans and bottles, a common sight previously.

On the previous Saturday, crowds were having a tipple in open areas even after 4am.

Last Saturday, the pavements near Robertson Bridge - near popular nightclub Zouk - were unusually quiet. No one was spotted drinking there at 11.30pm and there was no litter.

Five police officers were seen patrolling the area.

At the 7-Eleven convenience store near Read Bridge, the refrigerator containing alcohol was covered up after the permitted hours for selling liquor passed.

Under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act, which kicked in on April 1, alcohol consumption is not allowed in public places from 10.30pm to 7am.

Retail outlets such as convenience stores and supermarkets are also barred from selling takeaway alcohol during these hours.

Stricter rules apply in Little India and Geylang, which have been designated Liquor Control Zones.

There were mixed reactions to the new law.

Said production executive Ryan Laguio, 32, who comes from the Philippines: "I feel safer on Read Bridge now. There were many drunk people there previously. The new law also helps us to control ourselves because we can't buy drinks after 10.30pm."

He added: "Now, we just drink one beer and sit here and chill. It is quite nice."

But Mr Harpreet Singh, 31, an Indian national, said he found the place dull.

The project manager in an IT firm said: "I love the nightlife in Singapore and being able to drink in public here is important. There are fewer people here now and Clarke Quay will be less lively."

For undergraduate Nadia Cheah, 20, the new law means she now drinks at her friend's place before heading to the clubs, where alcohol is more expensive.

"It is quite inconvenient, but I guess it is better for the residents there," she said.

Mr Ponusami Kruppiah, a security guard at King's Centre, near Zouk, supports the restrictions.

The 64-year-old said: "People here can cause disturbance to the public because they are very noisy and most people here leave their rubbish behind after drinking.

"There is no point telling them to throw it away as they are drunk."



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