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SINGAPORE - Mar 31, 2006

Claims by Singapore gay website Fridae.com that a recently planned dance party was cancelled due to harassment by police have been thrown into question by venue host Ministry of Sound as well as a police spokesman.

The organizers, who have also had two previous private gay dance parties officially denied permits by police, stated on their website that "the venue, Ministry of Sound, received a telephone call from local police on Friday evening demanding that they cease venue provision for the event."

However, Clement Lee, executive director of the company that runs Ministry of Sound, was quoted by MediaCorp Press on TodayOnline.com as saying that Fridae's claim was "not completely true" and hinted at other underlying reasons. "If everything had been above board, the Ministry of Sound would have allowed the party to go on as planned."

MediaCorp Press also said that police denied intervening with the party having contacted the Ministry of Sound to "obtain more details" about the event and to plan for possible "traffic or law and order situations that might arise".

Singapore, which has Asia's hottest gay scene at the moment, has experienced tremendous growth of businesses by and for gays and lesbians, with more than 30 openly gay venues in Chinatown alone.

Singapore's first ever gay and lesbian guidebook is available internationally next month and in it local activist Alex Au writes, "Despite the government's unease about the growing visibility of the gay community, they probably realize that interfering with people's lives too directly will cause too much unhappiness, which may mean a risk to their political support. If it does occasionally, it's often a case of a junior constable exceeding his instructions."

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