Dec 18 2013, 2:40pm CST | by IANS
Singapore, Dec 19 — Singapore Wednesday loosened alcohol ban imposed after the Dec 8 riot in Little India, but the ban will remain for six months until the committee of inquiry makes its recommendations, police said.
However shops holding retail and wholesale licences will be able to sell alcohol, but for shorter hours, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends, eve of public holidays, and on public holidays. The measures will affect 134 stakeholders such as liquor shops and convenience stores.
Meanwhile, for stakeholders like restaurants, hotels, pubs, and coffee shops, the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol will be lifted. But consumption must be within their premises. This will affect about 240 outlets.
"Police will also continue to maintain a strong presence in Little India," it added.
The authorities had described the riot as a "spontaneous" and "one-off" incident, adding that alcohol was a factor.
The buses will operate from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., instead of 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. previously, it added.
Meanwhile, at the court, two alleged rioters Wednesday afternoon were ordered to be remanded for an additional week to assist in ongoing investigations.
The Law Society of Singapore said it will assign pro bono defence counsel to 26 of the 28 workers charged in relation to the Little India riot, while the rest two have engaged their own lawyers.
The riot involving some 400 South Asian workers broke out Dec 8 evening after a fatal traffic accident in which a worker from India was knocked down by a private bus in Little India, a district known for its distinctively Indian culture.
It was the biggest riot in Singapore in some 40 years, as the city state has been known as one of the safest cities. A total of 22 police officers, 12 Singapore Civil Defence Force officers and five auxiliary police officers were injured in the incident.
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