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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 13 November 2007

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Regulation of cyber gaming cafes in HDB estates


Oral Answer to Parliamentary Question on the proliferation of cyber/ gaming cafes and pubs, especially in the heartlands and within close proximity to schools; and measures to control students from patronizing them.
Ms Ellen Lee Geck Hoon:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs
(a) whether there is control over the excessive proliferation of cyber/gaming cafes and pubs, especially in the heartlands and within close proximity to schools; and
(b) whether there are measures to control children and young persons, particularly students under 16 years of age, from patronising them.
Senior Minister of State, A/P Ho Peng Kee:
Police are aware of the potential problems of easy access by youths to cyber gaming. While computer gaming does not in itself lead to delinquency, ease of accessibility may encourage truancy and affect attitudes of students towards their academic work, which may eventually lead to youth delinquency and crime.
Hence, the Police assess each application to set up a computer gaming establishment on the suitability of its location, amongst other criteria, before deciding whether to grant a licence.
The Police do not allow computer gaming establishments to be set up in HDB residential zones where most schools are located. This is because such locations offer high accessibility to youths.
Computer gaming establishments are only allowed to be set up at shopping, recreational or commercial centres. This includes HDB Town Centres, which are part commercial and part residential.
In addition, licensees of computer gaming centres are required not to admit persons below 16 years of age before 6.30 pm on a school day.
Further, the licensee has to ensure that students wearing school uniforms are not admitted into the establishment at any time, and is not allowed to provide a change of clothes to students.
A breach of any of these licensing conditions is an offence under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act. Errant licensees face a penalty of up to $10,000. There is also a demerit points system to help regulate the licensees. Repeat offenders may have their licences suspended or revoked.

Source: News 12 Nov 2007

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