SINGAPORE: A 52-year-old man caught drinking in public during prohibited hours is the first person to be charged under the Liquor Control Act, which came into force on Apr 1 last year.
Tan Gak Hin pleaded guilty to the charge on Thursday (May 5), and was ordered to pay a fine of S$1,000.
This was the third time Tan had run afoul of the new liquor laws. He had been warned and given a composition fine for his earlier offences prior to being charged in court.
Under the new Act, the prohibited hours are between 10.30pm and 7am, although alcohol can still be consumed within licensed premises such as restaurants, coffee shops or bars, in accordance with the hours stipulated in their licences.
The court heard Tan was caught drinking with friends in the early hours of Feb 23 at Bishan Street 24. A member of the public had called the police at about 2.25am to complain about “someone shouting around the vicinity for the past half an hour”.
A police officer found Tan with four men drinking beer and reeking of alcohol. The officer told the men to dispose of the beer and informed them they had breached the new liquor law.
Tan told the court he had been on his way home when he bumped into his friends and decided to join them for a drink. He had been frustrated with his family and was facing financial problems, he told the court, pleading for a lenient sentence. “I did not mean to break the law," he added.
Under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act, the maximum fine for a first offender is S$1,000. Repeat offenders face up to three months in jail, a fine of up to S$2,000, or both.