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Eyewitnesses said the crowds that gathered on New Year’s Eve at Clarke Quay were in the hundreds. — Picture via social media/TODAY
Eyewitnesses said the crowds that gathered on New Year’s Eve at Clarke Quay were in the hundreds. — Picture via social media/TODAY

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SINGAPORE, Jan 3 — The New Year’s Eve gathering at Clarke Quay on December 31 involved crowds that swelled to the hundreds and became “too big to control”, according to eyewitnesses.

Angie Flores, 44, outlet manager at Octapas Spanish Tapas Bar, which is located across the bridge where videos show the large crowds outside Riverside Point, said he saw the revellers when he went to 7-Eleven at around 11.15pm.

He told TODAY yesterday that he saw more than 10 policemen in the area, but the crowd was “simply too big to control”.

“The police were talking to the people, telling them no mingling and trying to control the people,” he said, adding that the situation didn’t improve.

He did not spot any social distancing ambassadors.

The Covid-19 multi-ministry task force said in a statement earlier yesterday that the authorities are looking into a New Year’s Eve gathering at Clarke Quay — said to be an impromptu celebration — which involved some “blatant breaches of safe management rules and is a potential superspreading event”.

Videos circulating on social media show large crowds counting down to the new year, with many appearing to have their masks pulled down.

James Raj, 36, manager at Cafe Iguana which is beside Jumbo Seafood @ Riverside, said that he saw the crowds forming at around 8.30pm.

By 9pm, there were “teenagers in the hundreds hanging around in groups”.

Raj said that when he was leaving for home at 11.30pm, he saw two police cars.

He also noticed some policemen taking down particulars of some teenagers near the Swissotel Merchant Court.

“The groups were too large for the police,” he said.

Workers at Jumbo Seafood @ Riverside, which could be seen in the video, said that the restaurant was closed at 10pm and so they did not see the massive countdown crowd.

One worker at 7-Eleven who also worked on the night said that he did not leave the shop and was unaware of the crowd that had formed outside. — TODAY

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