LEGISLATOR Eric Li Ka-cheung's call for an urgent meeting to be held with the relevant government departments on underage drinking is a welcome sign that the issue is finally gaining recognition in official circles. As Commissioner for Youth, Mr Li is rightly concerned about the extent of the problem and what should be done to protect minors from having easy access to alcohol. His hope is that the brain-storming session will be a first step towards recognition of a problem that has persistently been dismissed by the authorities as non-existent. A poll conducted by this newspaper shows that the majority believe there is a serious problem. An overwhelming 80 per cent felt that the sale of alcohol to those under 18 should be banned. This was true for those polled above the age of 18 and the very group that would be affected by such a ban - those between 15 and 18. Many also felt that the penalties for selling alcohol to minors in licensed premises are not tough enough and should be increased. When Mr Li and government officials sit down to discuss the subject of underage drinking next week, they could do worse than heed the view of the public in supporting a drinks' ban for minors.