Sunday 1 February 2015

New alcohol laws passed in Parliament on 30 January 2015; drinking in public places banned from 10.30pm to 7am

New alcohol laws aimed at those who cause trouble
Rules effective from April 1 not meant to prevent peaceful drinking: Iswaran

By Lim Yi Han, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

ISLANDWIDE curbs on late-night public drinking and the sale of alcohol are not to stop people from enjoying liquor. Instead, they are meant to tackle troublemakers and serious alcohol-related offences, said Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran.

He highlighted that over the last three years, there was on average one rioting incident and two cases of serious hurt that involved liquor each week. "And the trend has been on the rise."

He revealed these numbers yesterday, when the landmark Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill was passed after a spirited three-hour debate.

The new laws, which are expected to take effect on April 1, make it illegal to drink in public places, including void decks and parks, from 10.30pm to 7am. The takeaway sale of alcohol from 10.30pm will also be banned.

Little India and Geylang will be designated as Liquor Control Zones, with stricter restrictions.

The 17 MPs who spoke, including those from the Workers' Party, widely supported the Bill, with only Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam failing to back it. Several said it was unfair for residents to put up with noise, broken bottles, vomit and the smell of urine caused by irresponsible drinkers.

But at the same time, there was a recognition that the new laws are an imposition on personal freedom. It was pointed out that the retail curbs could force smaller shops out of business.

Some questioned whether the powers given to the police, such as the right to make a person take off his clothes to check for containers of alcohol, were too much.

But Mr Iswaran assured the House that the police will be measured in their approach and will focus enforcement on areas where there are public disorder issues.

"It is certainly not the intent of this Bill to seek out every person who is consuming liquor peacefully in a remote place," he said, describing the laws as balanced and reasonable.

He revealed that last year, there were 47 cases of rioting linked to the consumption of liquor. There were also 115 cases of serious hurt, which were related to drinking. These cases included stabbing, cutting using dangerous weapons, and inflicting severe bodily pain. "The incidents occurred across the island, with nine out of 10 occurring after 10.30pm," said Mr Iswaran.

Up to half of the serious incidents in Geylang and Little India were also linked to liquor consumption, about twice the national average, he added.

"Also, over the last three years, there was an average of 530 cases of persons found to be drunk and incapable in public places."

He said these numbers do not take into account the "many cases" of noise and other disturbances, which are often unreported.

Yes, Mr Iswaran admitted, some businesses will be hit. But the Government will work with them to ease their pain. He pointed out that shops can apply to sell alcohol after 10.30pm, with extensions granted case by case.

He also clarified several issues. Condominiums will not be considered public places, so people can, for instance, drink by the pool after 10.30pm.

And while workers' dormitories are considered public places, they will still be free to drink in their quarters, as long as permitted by their dorm operators.

As to why the new curbs did not simply target specific places with alcohol-related complaints, Mr Iswaran said this will only push the problem to other areas.

Alcohol control law: Police will focus on problem areas
More resources already dispatched to Little India and Geylang: Iswaran
By Lim Yan Liang, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

POLICE will focus their enforcement of the liquor control law on problematic areas, in particular, the two liquor control zones in Little India and Geylang, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran said yesterday.

"These are areas with greater law and order concerns, where we already dispatch more resources today to patrol and respond to incidents," he told the House, in addressing concerns from MPs over how police would uphold the law.

"And as with the current practice, auxiliary police officers who are trained and supervised by police will be deployed to patrol areas such as Little India where large congregations of people frequently gather and consume liquor."

The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill empowers these auxiliary officers to assist the police in enforcing the law.

Under the new law, police can, at any time of the day, get a person found to be consuming liquor and creating public annoyance to dispose of his drink and move on.

After 10.30pm, when public consumption of alcohol is prohibited, police can take down the particulars of anyone found consuming alcohol in a public place.

"These are actions that enforcement officers can take and they serve as a strong deterrent to antisocial behaviour," Mr Iswaran said. "No further action will be taken if he complies," he added.

"If a person ignores police advice or if he is a recalcitrant offender, the police may consider stiffer actions, such as issuing him with a composition fine or, in extremis, arresting him."

Ms Tin Pei Ling (Marine Parade GRC) questioned whether the law was "disproportionately severe".

Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam also asked if it gave police too much discretion, noting that the law allowed them to strip search people.

Mr Iswaran said police will assess each situation carefully, and will not resort to penalties or arrests in the first instance.

He added that the powers granted to police are not new, and allow them to search the belongings of a person suspected of committing alcohol-related offences for incriminating evidence.

"We've had a debate over this in the past; the police have well- established protocols to assess when such an inspection is necessary, how it is to be administered, based on their operational experience applying such powers to special events," he said.

Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC) asked whether police resources will be stretched by the new law, saying: "I envision there will be a lot more complaints at least when this Bill first comes about and, given the additional powers, there will probably be an expectation from residents that the police will intervene."

Noting that enforcement will focus on problematic areas, Mr Iswaran said: "We do not envisage a significant increase in resource requirement because of this prioritisation approach, and the way the police will respond."

Public drunkenness: Call for even stricter rules
MPs share residents' experiences over issue of alcohol in their wards
By Rachel Chang, Assistant Political Editor, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

VOMIT outside your gates. Drunken fights and shattered glass in your back lane. Loud voices and sometimes singing late into the night.

And in the morning: the reek of stale alcohol and urine.

Dr Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade GRC) painted this picture yesterday in Parliament of what it is like for some Geylang Serai residents who live, "day in, day out, night in, night out" with public drunkenness.

In the face of concern that the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill curtails personal freedoms, Dr Fatimah said that the psychological, physical and environmental effects of public drunkenness on those who have to live with it are "the real issues".

She and two other MPs, who also helm areas where public drinking by Singaporeans or foreign workers is common, asked the Government to consider even stricter measures against public drunkenness.

Ms Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC), whose ward covers part of Little India, noted that her constituents have seen a transformed living environment since alcohol curbs and security measures were put in place after the 2013 riot.

"One interesting indicator was we began to see more children, even little girls, in the playgrounds," she noted.

While liquor merchants have suffered, she said residents in the Little India area overwhelmingly support the new law to prohibit public drinking after 10.30pm and want even more areas to be kept alcohol-free.

Ms Foo Mee Har (West Coast GRC) asked that the area of Teban Gardens, which is part of her Ayer Rajah ward, be considered for designation as a liquor control zone.

In the new Bill, parts of Geylang and Little India will be liquor control zones with tighter restrictions on alcohol sale and consumption.

In certain areas of Singapore, it may be excessive to prohibit public drinking after 10.30pm, but for "hot spots" like Teban Gardens, it is inadequate, Ms Foo said, adding that negative alcohol-related behaviour occurs well before 10.30pm sometimes.

This is also the case for Geylang Serai, said Dr Fatimah.

Expressing hope that there would be stringent police patrols and enforcement action during the day in the area, she said: "Geylang Serai is a rich, cultural and heritage area (with) clan associations, temples, mosques, churches and some schools.

"Give them back their space, their safe and quiet space, for at least several hours a day."

Exclusion zones could create problems
By Lim Yan Liang, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

EXEMPTING parks and beaches from the new alcohol restrictions can result in people flocking to these "oases of consumption" and creating potential public disorder, Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran warned yesterday "You must be prepared for the unintended consequences of such a move," he told MPs from both the People's Action Party (PAP) and Workers' Party (WP).

"If all the other areas around you have restrictions and then you have this free zone, I think the consequences can be quite undesirable," he said.

The MPs had asked for the rules to be relaxed or removed altogether for leisure spots such as public barbecue pits and East Coast Park.

PAP's Mr Vikram Nair (Sembawang GRC), in arguing his case, noted that places such as barbecue pits and beaches are further away from residential neighbourhoods.

WP's Nominated MP Yee Jenn Jong made a similar argument when calling for certain public spaces to be designated for drinking at all times. Citing Changi Beach Park as well as East Coast and West Coast parks, he said: "The people at the parks, even those who have been drinking, are generally well behaved (and) they are also far away from residences, so there is also no disturbance caused to households."

Even Ms Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC), a staunch supporter of the new law, called for a light touch in policing East Coast Park and barbecue parties.

Agreeing, Mr Iswaran said enforcement at such recreational areas has to be calibrated.

"We need to make sure that we find the balance which allows people to have their fun in a legitimate way... and at the same time ensure the concerns in terms of public order and safety are preserved," he said.

But he warned against creating exemption zones, saying: "Inevitably, what you're going to have is, if there are restrictions in many areas and you have this oasis for consumption, I think human behaviour will sort of find a new level." He added: "I'd urge (Mr Yee) to give this careful thought before he advocates such a strategy."

Hawker centres face same rules as coffee shops
By Lim Yan Liang, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

TWO Workers' Party MPs yesterday asked for greater clarity on alcohol rules for hawker centres, and asked that they be subjected to less stringent licensing requirements.

Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC) said it was unclear if patrons at hawker centres would be allowed to drink beyond 10.30pm.

This is allowed at coffee shops, typically up to midnight, but varies based on each coffee shop's liquor licensing conditions.

Likewise, Ms Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC) said it was not clear if stallholders at hawker centres are considered retailers that sell alcohol for consumption elsewhere.

In reply, Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran said drink stalls at hawker centres are subjected to the same licensing rules as coffee shops, and that alcohol sold by hawker stalls must be consumed within the hawker centre.

"They are given a beer licence or a beer house licence, and the requirement is that the consumption takes place on the premises, meaning within the hawker centre," he said.

"What that means in practice is if they, shops in a hawker centre, are to sell a can of beer, they are required to pop the can so that there is a point made about consumption on premises."

He added that, like coffee shops, a hawker centre drink stall's operating hours depend on its location, and varies depending on whether it is a residential or commercial area.

Patrons can drink there within the stipulated licensing hours.

No intention to target foreign workers: Iswaran
By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

MEMBERS of Parliament concerned that tougher new liquor laws unfairly target foreign workers were told yesterday workers can continue to drink in their private quarters, so long as their dormitory rules allow them to do so.

"I want to basically assure members that we have no intention of singling out foreign workers," Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran said as he wrapped up a three-hour debate on the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill.

The new law, which Parliament approved yesterday, bans drinking in public places from 10.30pm to 7am, among other restrictions.

Several MPs were concerned that a clause in the legislation, which labels a dormitory as a public place, unfairly targeted foreign workers.

Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam said the law was harsh towards such workers. "Most of us have homes to go back to drink. But the dorms are the workers' homes, where they are subjected to the proposed rules."

Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) said that along with more restrictive liquor control zones in Geylang and Little India - areas commonly frequented by foreign workers - the clause would make it harder for workers to unwind.

Meanwhile, Mr Hri Kumar Nair (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) said the clause sends the wrong signal. "Unless there is good evidence that (drinking in dorms) will cause problems... there is no reason to single (foreign workers) out."

But that was not the intention of the law, said Mr Iswaran.

He explained that the clause arises from an amendment to the recently passed Foreign Employee Dormitories Act. Under that Act, the Manpower Ministry decided that dormitories should be deemed public places for the purposes of dealing with drunkenness in such premises.

Mr Iswaran also said a "public place" is an area where members of the public have access to as a right, or with permission. Since they would not be able to freely enter a worker's private quarters, it could not be considered a public place.

Mr Iswaran added: "The amendment does not turn dormitories into public places. Neither does it forbid workers from consuming liquor within the foreign worker dormitories."

Workers can continue to drink in their private quarters according to whatever rules the dormitories have in place. They can also continue to drink in their dormitories' beer gardens until the time allowed under each licence.

Mr Iswaran said: "We will license the areas... and those areas will continue to be available to the workers. So it will not unduly constrain foreign workers in the dorms."

Easier to enforce islandwide curb on public drinking, says Iswaran
By Cheryl Faith Wee, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

ANYTHING other than an islandwide curb on public drinking after 10.30pm would be impossible to enforce, pointed out Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran.

He was reacting to a suggestion by Mr Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC) that instead of a blanket ban, areas which have problems of public nuisances from drinking could be set apart as liquor control zones.

"I do not think it necessary to ban alcohol consumption for all public areas from 10.30pm to 7am. Generally, most drinkers here are responsible," Mr Baey said, adding that laws such as those against excessive noise and disorderly behaviour were enough to tackle alcohol-related issues. He also suggested that the solution could be to increase the number of police officers on the ground. And if these were not enough, then turn areas such as Clarke Quay, Boat Quay and Chinatown into liquor control zones.

But such a system would create confusion, said Mr Iswaran, who pointed out that liquor-related law and order issues and disamenities occur islandwide. "We can't predict exactly where it might occur next. There were strong calls based on consultation to restrict liquor consumption at void decks, parks, and other common places in residential areas. If we were to draw zones around these areas, the boundaries and rules will be confusing and, to say the least, ambiguous. I think in the extreme, you would probably need a GPS-enabled app to guide you as you move around, on which zone and which rules apply. I think this is not the kind of situation that we want, Smart Nation notwithstanding." During the debate, Mr Hri Kumar Nair (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC) had said: "There is no point having a law if people do not know where the prohibited area is or how it will be enforced. It is easy to take out a map and circle areas which appear far away enough from residential areas, but how do you reflect this on the ground? You will have the absurd situations where the length of one step is the difference between lawful and unlawful behaviour."

Help businesses adjust to new rules: MPs
By Cheryl Faith Wee, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

BUSINESSES that will be hurt by tighter alcohol restrictions need help adjusting to the new rules, said MPs yesterday.

A possible transition measure could be a demerit point system for coffee shops that flout liquor licence rules, rather than revoking the licences immediately, said Nominated MP Thomas Chua. This would give them time to take corrective measures, he said.

Coffee shops are usually badly hit when they lose their alcohol licenses, and are often unsure if the loss is permanent.

For instance, Mr Thomas Foo lost the alcohol licence at his coffee shop in Geylang last year, which led to him incurring monthly losses of $20,000 to $30,000.

He said his licence had been abruptly revoked after he received three summonses within a month, including one for having a customer drink alcohol at his shop shortly past midnight, which flouts the conditions of his liquor licence.

"I am still hoping to get the licence back but I am not sure how long I will have to wait," said Mr Foo, who chairs the Kheng Keow Coffee Merchants Restaurant and Bar-Owners Association.

A demerit point system "can provide early warning to the operators and encourage them to exercise self-discipline", said Mr Chua, who is the president of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran said that there are currently no plans to implement such a system, but the ministry will look into this suggestion.

Other MPs worried that alcohol retailers might be badly affected by the new curbs. Mr Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) urged a lifting of the ban on sales of alcohol after 10.30pm, saying the restrictions on public drinking should be sufficient.

In response, Mr Iswaran said it is not possible to "decouple" public consumption from retail sales.

"Those who buy (alcohol) do not all go home and drink, or at least there will be a temptation to do other things," he said.

But he added that extensions of liquor retail sales hours will be considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account factors such as whether retailers work to mitigate any negative impact.

Another concern raised was the impact on Singapore's appeal as a tourist destination.

Mr Chua suggested that after public order improves, liquor sale rules should be relaxed for nightlife outlets popular with tourists.

Singapore Nightlife Business Association president Dennis Foo agreed, saying that with the new curbs leading to more orderly conduct in general, a 24-hour party environment at certain night spots would attract more tourists.

Ministry held wide consultations on new law
By Rachel Au-Yong, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

THE Home Affairs Ministry engaged in "concerted, inclusive and deliberate" consultations with residents, businesses, dormitory operators and others, as well as put up two consultation papers for public comment, Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran said yesterday.

Several MPs had asked if the consultation process for the new law was rigorous enough, and cited opinion polls with contrasting results.

Mr Iswaran said the Bill was not based on polls, but on specific assessment of needs on the ground and feedback received to reduce disamenities and preserve public order.

Citing the two polls' opposing findings, Mr Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC) asked: "Is this merely a difference between online and offline comments, and between younger and older members of the public?"

He also said some believe the new liquor restrictions prevent Singapore from becoming a mature society.

A recent REACH phone survey of 1,145 respondents showed that eight in 10 backed the Bill.

But more than 75 per cent of the 12,000 people who took part in a Straits Times online poll said they did not.

Replying, Mr Iswaran said statisticians have assured him that REACH's sample size is "sufficient for statistically significant conclusions to be drawn".

Ms Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) suggested publicising future consultations on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's Facebook page, given his wide following on social media.

Sober reminder that liquor laws are not a panacea for social ills
By Fiona Chan, Deputy Political Editor, The Straits Times, 31 Jan 2015

TO HEAR some of the MPs speak in Parliament yesterday about liquor-related nuisances, one would have thought alcohol was the root of most, if not all, social evils.

Noise, vomit, urine, broken glass and other litter, outside your gate, night after night, year after year - that was the graphic description Dr Fatimah Lateef (Marine Parade GRC) gave of the headaches that public drinking created for her residents in Geylang Serai.

So it was no surprise that most of the 17 MPs who rose to debate the Liquor Control Bill supported, at least in principle, the ban of all public takeaway sales and drinking of alcohol past 10.30pm.

But early sleepers who expect all their night-time disturbances to be banished along with the liquor are likely to be disappointed.

Figures disclosed by Second Home Affairs Minister S. Iswaran - who replied to MPs during the debate before the Bill was passed - showed that while alcohol may exacerbate social disamenities, it does not cause them all.

Mr Iswaran noted that liquor has been linked to rioting incidents at least once a week and serious hurt cases twice a week.

But he also revealed that only 20 per cent of "serious incidents" nationwide are liquor-related.

This proportion is double in Geylang and Little India. But even that may not be quite sufficient to conclude that there is a concrete link between alcohol and public disturbances in those areas.

As Non-Constituency MP Lina Chiam said, "correlation is not causation".

While Little India and Geylang have the highest number of public order offences and attract crowds who drink alcohol, that does not necessarily mean the offences were directly caused by the alcohol, she noted.

As it is, Singapore has one of the world's lowest rates of alcohol consumption per capita, she said.

Mr Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC), who supported the Bill but spoke out against a nationwide ban on public drinking, said most drinkers here were responsible.

"Singaporeans do not have a drinking problem."

So while the Liquor Control Bill may help to reduce social disamenities - one of its main aims, as Mr Iswaran noted - it will not eradicate all incidences of disorderly conduct.

Indeed, no law alone can be a cure-all for bad behaviour.

Littering, for instance, has been an offence for decades - corrective work orders for litterbugs were implemented in 1992. And yet, surveys show that one-third of Singaporeans would leave their trash out in the open if they thought they wouldn't get caught.

Jaywalking and illegal parking are examples of other laws so difficult to comprehensively enforce that most people's first instinct is to see if they can get away with it.

The liquor curbs may also fall into this category. As Mr Baey put it, given that public order laws already exist but are inadequate to deal with nuisance drinkers, how will police ensure compliance with the islandwide drinking ban?

Indeed, Mr Iswaran emphasised a "calibrated approach" to the enforcement of the new Bill after much concern raised in the House yesterday on this issue.

Officers will focus on problem areas rather than "seek out every person who's consuming liquor peacefully in a remote place", he said. "I don't think the police have the resources for this."

And neither should they. What is more important than imposing the letter of the law is cultivating the right spirit behind it.

It would be worrying if Singapore, which has already banned sales of chewing gum and shisha, began outlawing anything with the potential to be a nuisance.

After all, the fundamental reason for social vexations in Singapore - or anywhere else - is not the intoxicating nature of alcohol, or the sticky properties of chewing gum, but a lack of consideration among people for their fellow citizens. Mr Iswaran highlighted this too, framing the new Bill as a way to foster a culture of shared responsibility: "It is equally important that individuals and the community take responsibility and exercise restraint."

"In this respect, the restriction on public consumption of liquor serves as a marker for members of public to abide by."

On this densely populated island, where someone's party is another person's sleepless night, a basic sense of neighbourliness and civic consciousness will go much further than any nationwide law.

'Onus on individuals' to drink responsibly: Shanmugam
By Melissa Lin, The Sunday Times, 1 Feb 2015

There is "only so much" that the authorities can do to curb the problem of nuisance drinkers, so individuals should take it upon themselves to drink responsibly, said Law Minister K. yesterday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a community event, he said that the Liquor Control Bill was passed in response to public feedback, after a survey by government feedback unit REACH found that an "overwhelming majority" of Singaporeans supported curbs on public drinking.

Said Mr Shanmugam, who is also the Foreign Minister and an MP for Nee Soon GRC: "When people come home late, they don't want to see others sitting around and drinking in the void deck. This sort of public drinking is what's being prohibited."

The law, which is expected to take effect on April 1, makes it illegal to drink in public places from 10.30pm to 7am. The takeaway sale of alcohol from 10.30pm will also be banned.

It is too early to tell whether the law will result in more people drinking at home and causing a disturbance to their neighbours, but a new Bill on community mediation may tackle that problem, he added.

The Community Dispute Resolution Bill, which sets out penalties for those who cause unreasonable disturbance to their neighbours, was introduced in Parliament two weeks ago.

"In the end, there has got to be individual responsibility. There's only so much the Government can do," he said. "I think there can be a more responsible drinking culture that Singaporeans can have."

Dr William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement and a trained lawyer, said that ultimately, it is up to individuals to think about others.

"The law is not able to make people do the right thing. It can only prevent people from doing the wrong thing," he said. "Other- centredness is still the key - it's not just about yourself."

During yesterday's community event, 540 volunteers fanned out across three divisions in Nee Soon GRC - Chong Pang, Sembawang and Marsiling - to give out goodie bags.

About 1,900 needy households in rental blocks received the bags, which contained $50 worth of items such as biscuits and nuts.

This was part of a three-week initiative by the North West Community Development Council to promote a culture of giving back to the community.

New public drinking laws: What you need to know
Channel NewsAsia, 30 Jan 2015 (*updated 5 Apr 2015)

The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Bill was passed in Parliament on Friday (Jan 30). It states that alcohol cannot be consumed in public places between 10.30pm and 7am every day, and take-away alcohol can only be sold up till 10.30pm.

Here are some commonly-asked questions about the new law.

Q: Can you drink alcohol at coffeeshops after 10.30pm?

Yes, it is allowed, but only within the premises of hawker centres or coffeeshops. Similarly, it depends on the liquor licenses that the shops hold. 

Q: What about at F&B outlets within public parks?

Yes, it is allowed even after 10.30pm as long as customers stay within the premises. However, it also depends on the liquor licenses that the F&B outlets hold. The cut-off time can vary from 12am till past midnight.

Q: Can alcohol be consumed at a pool party or barbecue at a condominium after 10.30pm?

Yes, it is allowed as this is within a private property, unless the estate has its own rules about alcohol consumption. The new law only applies to public places, which are defined as areas that people have easy access to such as HDB void decks.

Q: What if the alcohol is concealed in a plain container?

Police officers are now empowered to do a search if they suspect that you could be potentially causing trouble. They are allowed to look at what you are holding in your hands and you have to comply under the new law.

Q: Will penalties be imposed on people drinking in public spaces after 10.30pm, but who are not rowdy? (*updated 5 Apr 2015)

The police will take a calibrated and even-handed approach in enforcing the law, the Singapore Police Force says. If a person is found consuming liquor in public places, the police will take down his particulars in the first instance and require him to dispose of the liquor. If there is public annoyance, the police can also advise the person to move on and leave the place. If he complies, no further action will be taken. If the person ignores the police advice, or is a recalcitrant offender, police may consider taking stiffer actions such as issuing him with a composition fine or arresting him.

Q: Can I buy alcohol from duty-free shops after 10.30pm?

Duty-free shops are considered retail outlets as well, so they will need to comply to the new law. However, these shops can apply for an extension of alcohol sale.

Q: What kind of penalties do I face?

First-time offenders face a fine of up to S$1,000, while repeat offenders face fines of up to S$2,000 or up to 3 months' jail.

Q: When will all these new rules take effect?

The laws are expected to come into effect on April 1.

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