Beware being fined for drinking in late night hours in the public

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Alcohol banned in late night in public places in singapore

It was no questions that drinking in the public is definitely not flouting the law, unless you are being a nuisance to the public which enforcers will come into pictures. However, it paints a different picture in Singapore.

A new law has passed on 1st April 2015 under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act which drinking alcohol is banned in all public places from 10.30pm to 7am. Retail shops are also not allowed to sell takeaway alcohol from 10.30pm to 7am as well.

Related: Drive drinking in Singapore will cost you your driving licence

What is the reason behind the ban ?

Foreign workers hurling objects at emergency vehicles at little india on 2013
Foreign workers seen hurling objects at emergency vehicles which they have overturned earlier.
Image: TNP.

Although there are already looming concerns over teenagers buying booze and seating in public areas, drinking and chatting away, there wasn’t a strict enforcement until the riot that broke out in Little India on 8th December 201344 years after the major communal riots in 1969.

The riot was sparked by a fatal accident when a Indian foreign worker, Sakthivel Kumarvelu, was run over by a private bus and was instantly killed. It angered the crowd (mostly foreign workers) which gathered more than 300 of them. Though the police, ambulance, Singapore Civil Defence Force have arrived at scene, they are being attacked by the mob, damaging 23 emergency vehicles, which 5 were torched. There was also 8 civilians that were injured in the riot as well.

The government took action immediately to mitigate the issues by setting up a Committee of Inquiry (COI) which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called upon to examined the testimonies of more than 300 witness.

In order to minimise public disorder, a banned was being imposed on the consumption and sales of alcohol in public places.

Related: Corrective Work Order and Fines for littering in Public in Singapore

Geylang and Little India designated as “Liquor Control Zones”

An immediate ban was imposed at Little India in 2013 starting from 6am on Saturdays and end at 6am on Monday, while on public holidays and the eve of public holidays, it starts at 6am on the eve and end at 6am the day after the public holiday.

In 1st April 2015, the Parliament has passed a revised law, zoning Geylang and Little India as Liquor Control Zones, which both areas are flooded with foreign workers during the weekend.

The law banned these two places from public drinking from 7am on Saturday to 7am on Monday every week. It also applies from 7pm of the eve of a public holiday to 7am of the day after public holiday.

Shops in Geylang and Little India are also prohibited to sell takeaway alcohol from 7pm on weekends, eve of public holidays, and public holidays.

Except for the two zones above, drinking is banned in all public places and retail shop are prohibited to sell takeaway alcohol from 10.30pm to 7am.
You can find out more extensive information of the ban here.

What are the penalty for flouting the ban ?

It is stated that anyone drinking illegally can be fined up to S$1,000 and repeat offenders may be fined up to S$2,000 and jailed for up to three months. 
A shop selling alcohol after the permitted hours could be fined up to S$10,000.
Tan Gak Hin slapped with S$1,000 fine for consuming alcohol after prohibited hours in public
Image: The Straits Time

In addition, a stricter penalty was imposed in Liquor Control Zone which offenders could be fine up to 1.5 times of the penalty above if caught breaking the law.

The first prosecution took place on 5th May 2016 which a 52-year-old man, Tan Gak Hin,  pleaded guilty consuming liquor during prohibited hours on 22nd February 2016. He was slapped with a S$1,000 fine subsequently for the offence.

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