Sale of bottled beer stopped at Tekka Centre

Sale of bottled beer stopped at Tekka Centre
From Oct 1, drinks vendors at Tekka Centre's hawker centre will only sell canned beer. The police engaged these vendors in the last two months, and advised them to stop selling bottled beer to reduce the risk of glass bottles being used as weapons in fights.

All eight alcohol sellers at Tekka Centre's hawker centre have taken their bottled beers off the shelves after being told to do so by police.

Posters showing a tick beside a can and a cross beside a bottle have been put up. Stall owners said the posters were given to them by the police.

They also said the police met them late last month and explained that they would like to see if there will be fewer fights if these bottles are banned for three months.

The police said the move is to reduce the risk of glass bottles being used as weapons in fights.

The initiative comes after an incident in August when a drunk man struck a 19-year-old busboy from behind with a broken glass bottle, then fled.

This is believed to be the first time the police have asked alcohol sellers to stop selling bottled beer.

A stall owner who wanted to be known only as Mr Ng said that, while he has not seen the effect of the no-bottle initiative, he believes his profits will decrease. "I will have to sell five cans to make up for three bottles," he said. At his stall, a long can of Guinness Stout costs $6.70, while a bottle costs $8.50.

Mr Ng, who has been running the stall for more than 30 years, said the move is unnecessary.

He added that those who are used to the bottle are unlikely to switch to cans as the taste and "feel" are slightly different.

However, another stall owner who declined to be named said the no-bottle initiative improves things for him as he does not have to collect the bottles. He added that business is not affected as his customers just buy two long cans instead of a bottle.

Mr Devaraj, who lives in a block in Buffalo Road right beside Tekka Centre, said he appreciated the move.

"I've never witnessed a bottle being used as a weapon, but I always see broken bottles lying around. I don't think they fell and broke," said the 32-year-old security officer.

Unable to drink in several areas since the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act came into effect in April, foreign workers have been congregating at Tekka Centre, where alcohol can be consumed.

Indian national G. Jayaram, 33, who works at a security systems company, was sipping beer from a can when The Straits Times visited Tekka Centre on Tuesday afternoon. He felt it is not necessary to stop selling bottled alcohol and "punish everyone for the mistake of one or two".

Mr Ong Poh Kok, 41, has lived in the area for about 30 years. He said: "They have been drinking here for so many years. They (the police) are overdoing it. Even a chair can be a weapon if there is really a fight."


This article was first published on Oct 14, 2014.
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