After the flames in Little India: Alcohol

After the flames in Little India: Alcohol

The role alcohol played in causing the riot was a major point of contention throughout the proceedings.

A day after the riot, there was an immediate ban on alcohol sale, supply and consumption in Little India.


Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee, Tekka Residents' Committee (RC) chairman Martin Pereira, human rights group Maruah president Braema Mathi, Workfair Singapore activist Vincent Wijeysingha


Several residents and police witnesses testified that alcohol was a major factor in the riot. Beer bottles were the most common projectiles and video footage showed the rioters walking unsteadily.

Said Mr Ng: "Inebriation was the norm among the rioters that night...(alcohol) fuelled the violence."

The Central Narcotics Bureau lead investigator into the riot, Mr Adam Fashe Huddin, also concluded that alcohol was the main contributory factor in leading the riot to escalate, despite not having direct evidence to prove it.

Mr Wijeysingha, who represented civil society volunteer group Workfair Singapore, said there has been an "eagerness" by the Government to pin the cause of the riot on alcohol.

Ms Mathi said there was little evidence showing that alcohol was the cause: "It was, in our opinion, too fast, too quick, to quickly put it as all into alcohol."

Inquiry chairman G. Pannir Selvam said: "We wouldn't go and buy the theory that alcohol was the sole factor because there was a method in the madness of the rioters because they didn't go and damage property indiscriminately - they had a focus."

"You can't just go and say alcohol is the problem, and therefore ban it," he added.

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