The Singaporean subsidiary of US fastfood chain McDonald's is readying itself for the second round of its Hello Kitty promotion. The chain is to sell a new range of the popular toy for a heavy discount to customers buying a Value Meal. One year ago, there was pandemonium in McDonald's Singapore outlets when panic-buying of the sought-after toy led to scuffles and security problems. Four men were jailed for unruly behaviour, and emergency services were called to assist a number of would-be customers who fainted in queues. Nearly three million toys were sold during the last promotion, which reveals the extent of the craze among an overall population of a little over four million.

McDonald's says the uproar will not be repeated when the promotion begins again on 4 January, as it has taken a number of measures to retain calm. Purchases will be limited to four toys per customer, and a larger number of the products have been stockpiled to ensure that demand can be met. Security staff have also been hired to control crowds, and mobile security squads will move quickly into any trouble spots.