Kerala police ask foreigner to empty alcohol bottle; cop suspended

Kerala police ask foreigner to empty alcohol bottle; cop suspended

A Kerala Police team allegedly forced a foreigner to empty the liquor bottle he had purchased from a state-owned outlet for New Year celebrations.

In a video that has gone viral, the foreigner can be seen emptying the bottle in the presence of police personnel on Friday in Kovalam.

Local media identified the man as Stephen Asberj, from Sweden, and said he was carrying three bottles, two of which he was asked to throw away.

The state government on Saturday suspended a police officer involved in the action. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought a report from the police chief on the matter, sources said.

Tourism Minister P A Muhammed Riyas called the incident “unfortunate”, and said efforts to derail the government’s efforts to revive the tourism sector will not be tolerated.

The incident occurred when the foreigner was returning on his two-wheeler after purchasing alcohol from a BEVCO outlet in nearby Vellar.

He told reporters that the police team carrying out checks intercepted him two-wheeler and during the inspection found alcohol in it.

When he was asked to produce the bill of purchase, the foreigner told them that he had forgotten to collect it from the outlet.

Although he insisted that he could return with the bill, the police allegedly asked him to empty the bottle.

The man, who has been living in Kerala for the last four years, told the media that he had no complaints against the police, but expressed frustration with them for spoiling his New Year celebrations.

He said that for tourists, Goa is much friendlier than Kerala.

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