CHILDREN as young as 10 are able to buy alcohol from retail stores with little difficulty, a district councillor has claimed.
Sha Tin District Council (沙田區議會) member Scarlett Pong Oi-lan (龐愛蘭) conducted an experiment last month where she sent three children aged 10 to 14 to purchase beer from 14 retail outlets belonging to seven different chain stores in the district.
They were able to buy alcohol with a success rate of 75 percent.
A 14-year-old boy, who shopped alone, was able to buy beer at all 14 stores while the two other children, another boy aged 14 and a girl aged 10, were sent out together and were able to buy beer at nine of the same 14 shops.
The two youngsters were only questioned in one of the nine outlets that sold them beer about why they were buying alcohol. They said they were getting it for their grandfather.
The chain stores included 7-Eleven, 759 Store (759阿信屋 ), ParknShop (百佳) and Wellcome (惠康).
“This simple undercover test showed that children who obviously look very young had a 75 percent success rate in buying alcohol in these shops,” Pong said.
She said the government should legalise penalties on convenience stores and supermarkets that sell alcohol to children under 18 as the industry’s current self-regulatory conduct is failing.
“The World Health Organisation (世界.生組織) has advised that children should not be allowed to consume alcohol at such a young age as it would have an adverse health impact and will also affect their behaviour, so the government really should step up on restricting retail shops from selling alcohol to children,” she said.
(This article is published on The Student Standard on 20 April 2016)
Working Group on Alcohol and Health
Youth Drinking Harms Health