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Anti-drunkenness measures should target hotspots, Little India COI recommends

The Committee of Inquiry said it "does not think that the riot merits an island-wide ban on public consumption" of alcohol.

SINGAPORE: With alcohol deemed a "major contributory factor" to the Little India riot of Dec 8 last year, the Committee of Inquiry has supported stricter enforcement against public drunkenness, and the possibility of restricting consumption of alcohol at "hotspots" - defined as areas where large crowds typically indulge in heavy drinking.

"The COI does not think that the riot merits an island-wide ban on public consumption," the committee said in its report released on Monday (June 30).

The COI said more vigilant enforcement against public drunkenness in hotspots would help mitigate against the effects of excessive drinking, and in so doing reduce the possibility of a threat to public order. It would also deter individuals from becoming a public nuisance due to excessive drinking, such as by falling asleep in public areas or causing disturbances.

The police should also explore less manpower-intensive approaches to enforcement, such as publicising the penalty, or even employing breathalysers while on patrol, the COI recommended.

The committee said it supported the concept of restricting the hours or places where people can publicly consume alcohol - though such a move should target "truly public areas" such as walkways and playgrounds, and not penalise eateries licensed to sell alcohol.

The COI noted that Ministry of Home Affairs is conducting a review and public consultation on the liquor regulatory framework.

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