15 Nov 2010

Tonga to tighten controls on alcohol

4:48 pm on 15 November 2010

Tonga is bringing in new laws to try and counter alcohol abuse.

The police commander, Chris Kelley, says there'll be new categories of licences, and this'll mean bars being separated from restaurants and retailers providing a closed off area housing their alcohol products.

Commander Kelley says under the Liquor Amendment Act 2010 hours of operation will change, with retail bottle stores allowed to sell until 9pm six days a week instead of closing at 5pm.

"But in the case of other areas such as a bar, the hours of sale are Monday to Friday 10am to 12.30am with a half an hour to clear the bar. At one thirty everyone has to be out of the premises. That is certainly a change from the 2am I think it is in some cases and 4am in other cases, that's in existence at present."

Chris Kelley.

In a separate measure breath testing of motorists is also to be introduced.

In the first week of November Tonga police arrested 39 people for drunkeness in a public place.