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Ronald Loh, Oh Ming Xuan
Monday, Jun 30, 2014

Singapore

It's an overreaction from police: Resident

The New Paper | Ronald Loh, Oh Ming Xuan | Monday, Jun 30, 2014

A brief return to the good old kampung days, courtesy of Mr Rooban's gesture, as young and old watched the World Cup in the open air and celebrated a goal together on Tuesday night.

SINGAPORE - It was a tense deadlock between Argentina and Nigeria at that point.

But before the crowd of about 80 people could find out if Lionel Messi's team would prevail, they were told to disperse by police officers.

The reason?

Safety concerns.

The group had gathered in front of Mr Rooban Kanth's terrace house, where the 26-year-old had set up his 42-inch LCD TV on the street for the World Cup match.

A police spokesman said officers were conducting anti-crime patrols in the area at about 12.20am on Thursday when they saw the large group gathered outside Mr Rooban's home at Sing Avenue, which is off Rangoon Road in Balestier.

"Out of safety concerns, our officers advised the crowd to disperse," he said.

Mr Rooban had been screening matches outside his house every night of the tournament to share his passion with neighbours and foreign workers in the area.

Said the fresh university graduate: "The crowd was unexpectedly too big for the Argentina game.

"Everyone was disappointed that they had to disperse. But the police were nice, so we cooperated with them and shifted the TV set back inside my home."

The abrupt end, however, left some fuming.

Mr Michael Aw, 65, a retired policeman who lives opposite Mr Rooban, said: "It really is an overreaction from the police. This activity helps to build kampung spirit, which is a good thing."

Another neighbour, who wanted to be known only as Mr Guna, agreed.

The 54-year-old consultant, who lives at a nearby condominium, said: "It's just for the World Cup season and they were not disturbing anyone. The police should have handled it differently."

But Mr Alvin Yeo, who is part of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Home Affairs and Law, said the police had a job to do in ensuring law and order.

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