Singapore has instated a new ban that hopes to prevent late-night drunken debauchery. The new law prohibits alcohol consumption in public places after 10:30 p.m. through 7:00 a.m.
According to the South China Morning Post, the law, which was passed by parliament earlier this year, was implemented in certain districts to avoid cases of alcohol-fueled public disorder. In December 2013, a violent riot erupted for two hours in a clash between South Asian foreigners and city officials. According to reports at the time by The Economist, the riot was reportedly started as the result of anger over the death of a foreign worker who was thrown off a bus for being intoxicated and was later run over and killed.
Today, Little India, a commercial district and the setting of the riot, is one of two places where the law will be enforced, the other being the Geylang district, known for its nightlife and entertainment.
In these two designated “liquor control zones,” alcohol consumption won’t be allowed during weekends, or on the eve or day of any public holidays. The Straits Times reports that Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the law was made after many citizens complained about drunk and disorderly behavior in these areas. Citing a government-distributed survey, Teo said that 80 percent of people approved of the new ban.
The law does not affect restaurants, cafes and other licensed establishments that sell alcohol; however, liquor stores and grocers cannot sell alcohol during ban hours. The report says that punishments for selling or consuming alcohol in these spaces result in a fine as much as 1,000 Singaporean dollars ($735 U.S. dollars). Repeat offenders face a fine of 2,000 Singaporean dollars ($1,469 U.S. dollars) or in some cases up to three months in jail.
Singapore has a reputation for seemingly random laws on what are often deemed to be annoying nuisances. For example, it is illegal to import or sell gum in the country. Those who do chew gum for medical reasons (like Nicorette) are still subject to fines if they are caught spitting gum out on the street.