Police investigating Sentosa sky lantern festival, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Police investigating Sentosa sky lantern festival

The police are looking into the Singapore Sky Lantern Festival amid calls by attendees to be fully refunded for the botched event.

At least one police report has been filed against the event’s organisers. The police confirmed that investigations are ongoing.

Hundreds of attendees, who each paid $50, made their way to Sentosa for the festival on Feb 21, only to learn on arrival that there was no food, nor were there lanterns taking off that night – both of which had been promised. Following that, one of the organisers said in a since-deleted Facebook post that the event will be rescheduled to early April, without providing further details.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) president Melvin Yong said on March 7 that attendees should be entitled to a full refund given the circumstances.

Mr Yong said it was not right for the event organiser, Asian Couture and Boutique, to proceed with the event without giving consumers prior notice that the sky lantern release segment was cancelled, given that consumers had bought tickets mainly due to the release.

The firm had also failed to obtain the necessary licences and permit approvals to carry out the release of sky lanterns.

“There is also no clarity on the replacement event suggested by the company,” he added.

To date, Case has received 32 consumer complaints against Asian Couture and Boutique regarding the Singapore Sky Lantern Festival at Palawan Beach.

Mr Yong urged all affected consumers to contact Case for help by calling 6277-5100 or through its website.

Case provides free advice to those who reach the association at its hotline, by e-mail or by walking into its office.

People who pay a fee to join Case as a member can file a case with the non-profit, which will engage the retailer on their behalf.

Should the matter reach a stalemate, an officer from Case will advise consumers on their options, which include mediation and escalating the case to the Small Claims Tribunals.

According to Case’s website, its mediation process resolves about 70 per cent of disputes.

In response to Mr Yong’s statement, Asian Couture and Boutique director Shiermie Bautista said ticket sales for the event were final and non-refundable as other segments of the programme, like the music festival, went ahead, and many participants had attended the event.

According to Ms Bautista, 2,500 people collected their lanterns on Feb 21.

She said the organiser would update on the exact date of the rescheduled event when preparations were complete.

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