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Strong support for curbs on public drinking

There is strong support for proposals to restrict the consumption of alcohol in public, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said yesterday.

Some 88 per cent of the people who took part in a poll said they were in favour of implementing restrictions on drinking at congregation areas.

Most respondents to MHA's public consultation exercise are also in favour of limiting the hours during which alcohol can be sold, as part of moves to reduce threats to public safety and order.

But a majority of participants in the focus group said an island-wide ban on public consumption would be too extreme and restrictive.

Some suggested additional restrictions in areas with higher crime rates.

The public consultation exercise was held in two phases.

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MHA received 395 pieces of written feedback and more than 600 people took part in the online poll. The Ministry also conducted focus group discussions with stakeholders such as grassroots leaders, businesses and residents.

The full set of liquor control measures will be announced in the first quarter in 2015, MHA said.

"We will balance the diverse interests of various stakeholders, including residents and businesses, to ensure that the regime is practical and enforceable, easily understood with clear rules, and minimal displacement effect," MHA said.

"The Ministry has also been studying the different models practised in other jurisdictions and will use these as a reference when drawing up a model that meets our policy and operational requirements."

Most of the focus group participants supported stopping the sale of alcohol at about 10pm or midnight.

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