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It's no go for planned Christmas 'gay party' (The Straits Times [Singapore])
9 Dec, 2004

Police rejects licence, saying event is likely to be a gay party and is against public interest

A CHRISTMAS party, organised for the past two years by local subsidiary of a Hong Kong-based gay online portal, has had its licence application for this year's party turned down.

Police rejected the application for the SnowBall.04 indoor party, which was to be held at the Warehouse disco on Havelock Road over Christmas weekend, saying 'the event is likely to be organised as a gay party which is contrary to public interest'.

The application was put up by Jungle Media, the same company that organised Nation.04 in August.

Jungle Media is a Singapore subsidiary of Hong Kong-based fridae. com - the largest online gay portal in the region.

In a statement to the media, the police said they had approved parties such as Nation.04 after receiving assurance that the events would not be 'organised as gay parties'.

However, they said they noticed people of the same gender 'seen openly kissing and intimately touching each other' during the party.

The police also said some patrons were using toilets meant for the opposite sex, 'suggesting that most of the patrons were probably gays or lesbians and that the event was almost exclusively for them'.

These 'openly gay acts' at the Nation.04 ball also provoked several complaints from other patrons.

Said the police: 'The police recognise that there are some Singaporeans with gay tendencies. While the police do not discriminate against them on this basis, we recognise that Singapore is still, by and large, a conservative and traditional society.'

They have promised to scrutinise applications for any similar events in the future.

The police Public Entertainment Licence Unit (Pelu) has granted licences for the last three Nation parties, which were held in parallel to the National Day holiday celebrations. This year's SnowBall, usually held in December, would have been the third.

Chief executive officer of fridae. com Stuart Koe said it was shocked by the rejection as it has 'had a very congenial working relationship with Pelu and various police jurisdictions' for all their past events.

Mr Koe said: 'Our events are known to be extremely professionally organised and have earned both domestic, as well as international acclaim. Nation.04 attracted 8,000 participants.

'In a study commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board, Nation.04 was estimated to have generated $10 million in tourism revenue.'

In response to the rejection, Mr Koe e-mailed an appeal letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last night, asking the authorities to reconsider their decision.

The letter was also copied to Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng, the police and the Attorney-General Chan Sek Keong.

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