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149 caught drinking outside permitted hours in Little India

Two outlets have been found flouting sale curfews since alcohol curbs were imposed in the area.

SINGAPORE: In just two-and-a-half months since alcohol curbs were imposed in Little India, 149 people have been caught drinking outside permitted hours and two outlets have flouted sale curfews, latest police statistics showed.

The number of liquor licences in the area, which witnessed a riot on Dec 8 last year, has also slid by 10 since, to 321. These figures were accurate as of 6am on Monday (June 16).

The Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act, in force for one year since April 1 in a designated zone in Little India, gives the police “limited and focused” powers to deal pre-emptively with potential threats to public order. The new law also bans the public consumption of alcohol and restrictions on the sale of alcohol at certain times.

Little India residents interviewed on Monday had positive feedback on the alcohol curbs, saying their estate has become cleaner and quieter. Social disamenities they used to frequently see in the past, such as littering and urinating in public, are also less common now, they added.

“The situation is better now. It is cleaner, not so noisy and there are not too many people around,” said a 75-year-old resident, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Wong.

Businesses in the area, however, groused that sales have plunged by 40 to 60 per cent, with some calling for the alcohol sale hours to be extended.

Mr Ramu Balasubramanian, 36, senior operations manager of convenience store Mama & Papa, said: “Customers usually buy alcohol from 9pm onwards so extending the (sale hours) would help a bit with business.”

Mr K Selvaprasad, 37, director of Shanthee’s Curry Restaurant, however, said the ban should remain. “If the area is cleaner and more controlled, it will attract more tourists. If you extend the curfew, more people will roam at night and there will be a longer drinking period for them, which would cause more problems.”

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