Published: 28 January 2016
Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) which agency has jurisdiction over the operating hours of 24-hour amusement centres; (b) what is the basis in allowing them to run a 24-hour operation; (c) whether the Ministry is aware that such centres attract undesirable behaviour especially with alcohol drinking on the premises; (d) how many centres have lost their licences because of police action over the past three years; (e) how many centres are there currently and how many of them are in the heartlands; and (f) whether there will be restrictions on the setting up of such centres in the interest of public safety.
1. The Public Entertainments and Meetings Act regulates public entertainment, which includes amusement centres and computer games centres. When assessing an application for a public entertainment licence to operate a 24-hour amusement or computer games centre, the Police will take into account the location of the centre, and the likelihood of law and order concerns arising from the operation of the centre.
2. Currently, no amusement centre has been given a 24-hour licence under the public entertainment regulatory regime. There are 27 computer games centres with public entertainment licences, but only one has been issued a 24-hour licence. This centre is not located in the heartlands, and is not issued with a liquor licence for sale and consumption of liquor on its premises.
3. Other than amusement and computer games centres licensed under the Public Entertainment regime which are open to the public, computer gaming societies which are registered with the Registry of Societies may also provide computer gaming services but only to their members. There are 35 computer gaming societies that are registered with the Registry of Societies. None of these gaming societies are issued with liquor licences for sale and consumption of liquor on their premises.
4. Although these computer gaming societies are not regulated under the Public Entertainment and Meetings Act, the Police do conduct enforcement checks on them. If a society is found to be used for unlawful purposes, or its rules are shown to be inadequate for the proper management and control of the society, the Registry of Societies will not hesitate to take action, including issuing warning letters and dissolving the society.