A Guide to Sexual Offences in Singapore [Part 4] – Outrage of Modesty and Voyeurism

In our previous articles in this series, we explained what consent is, as well as details on parts of the new Act 15 of 2019 which will better protect minors under the age of 18 from sexual offences, both offline and online. This article will highlight certain sexual offences that commonly happen in Singapore and what you should know about them.

Previously, the term ‘outrage of modesty’ would be synonymous with molest, or inappropriate touching. The new Act 15 of 2019 will now include words and gestures as stated in Section 377BA:

This law is meant to address a very common grey area and clearly defines what is acceptable and what is not. What this means is that certain acts, sounds, or even an object that mimics an offensive sound may now get the offender jailed for up to a year, with a fine, or both.

Examples include an offensive nickname given to the victim, or even certain vulgar facial expressions, even if no word was uttered, as long as the victim can see it or had his/her privacy intruded. 

In a workplace setting, this could include acts like pointing out a female colleague’s physical features out loud, or placing a sex toy on their desk, even if it was meant to be a joke and in more recent cases, including in schools, the act of voyeurism.

What Exactly is Voyeurism?

According to the new Section 377BB, Voyeurism refers to the act of watching someone else committing a private act without their knowledge or permission while knowing the victim will not allow it even if asked. The closest layman term to this would be a “Peeping Tom”.

This includes acts such as:

  • Operating an equipment to commit or enable someone else to observe or record the private act such as placing hidden cameras in the victim’s room or using binoculars or image enhancing hardware to observe someone else’s private act.

  • Operating equipment to commit or enable someone else to observe or record the victim’s genitals, breasts and buttocks that otherwise would not be visible, without the victim’s knowledge or permission like rigging a toilet cubicle with a hidden camera.

  • Intentionally records someone’s genitals, breasts or buttocks, covered or not, without their permission.

The punishment for anyone found guilty of any of these offences is a jail term of up to 2 years which may include a fine and caning.

According to Section 377BB(9), ”In any proceedings for an offence under this section, where a person (A) has made a recording of another person (B) doing a private act or of B’s genitals, breasts if B is female, or buttocks (whether exposed or covered), in circumstances where the genitals, breasts or buttocks would not otherwise be visible, it is presumed until the contrary is proved that B did not consent to A making the recording.

In our next part of this series, we will explain how the new set of laws have been designed to curb the storage and distribution of such recorded materials.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Source: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/PC1871?ProvIds=P4XVI-P4_375-.#pr376B-

A Guide to Sexual Offences in Singapore [Part 3] – Commercial Sex

In our previous articles in this series, we explained what consent is, and how the new amendments to the law will better protect minors. In this article, we will explain the new laws regarding commercial sex, especially involving minors.

While commercial sex itself is not illegal in Singapore, any activity involving minors under the age of 18, even just touching of a sexual nature, as included in the Act 15 amendment of 2019, Section 376B(4) will be enough to classify it as commercial sex with a minor under 18 which carries a jail term of up to 7 years, with fines and caning.

Commercial Sex Outside of Singapore

To eradicate the problem of sexual offences involving minors among Singaporeans, The Act 15 amendment of 2019 will now also include the same sexual offences being committed by Singaporeans in other countries, making them liable for punishment as if they had committed the offence in Singapore.

This includes visiting or procuring the services of underaged sex workers or participating in illegal sex tours in other countries, as well as establishing or maintaining an inappropriate sexual relationship with a minor even if they only communicate online and never actually meet.

The new act will also address online sexual communication, such as sending inappropriate messages or media to a minor under 18 living in a different country. The law will now treat it as if the minor too was in Singapore when the offence was committed and the offender may be jailed up to 7 years, with fines and caning.

These laws are applicable to all Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents.

Better Protection for Minors Under 16

The new Section 376E includes protection against sexual grooming of minors under the age of 16. In this new act, anyone above the age of 18 is liable for an offence if he/she either communicates, or even shows any intent towards an inappropriate relationship whether the minor is in Singapore or not.

The punishment for such offences can be extended to 3 years in jail, including a fine, if the victim is below 18, and up to 4 years in prison if the victim is below the age of 14.

Sexual Offences Involving Victims with Mental Disabilities

The new Act 15 of 2019 will now also protect victims with mental disabilities. This includes acts where the offender either touches the victim inappropriately, or makes the victim perform a sexual act on another person. 

The definition of mental disability according to the law is “an impairment of or a disturbance in the functioning of the mind or brain resulting from any disability or disorder of the mind or brain which impairs the ability to make a proper judgement in the giving of consent to sexual touching;”

What is different with this new act is that in a case where the victim has a mental disability, their consent to the sex act may not be valid whether or not, the victim is the offender’s spouse. If there is reason to believe that the offender knows that the victim has a mental disability and had issued threats or deception to exploit and induce the sex act, then the person will have committed an offence.

Anyone found guilty of this offence can be jailed up to 5 years, with a fine, or caning, and if the touching involved sexual penetration of any sort, the offender may be liable to up to 20 years in prison, with a fine, or caning.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Source: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/PC1871?ProvIds=P4XVI-P4_375-.#pr376B-

A Guide to Sexual Offences in Singapore [Part 2] – Protecting Minors

With the Act 15 of 2019 amendments to the law in response to sexual offence cases in Singapore, there will now be stronger safeguards in place to protect minors below the age of 16, as well as those who are 16 to 18 from sexual grooming or exploitation from online predators, as well as family members.

In a previous article, we explained what consent is in the context of the law and in Part 1, we provided examples of what would be considered sexual offences. In this article, we’ll highlight the various laws protecting minors and what you should know if you have children.

Sexual Grooming of Minors

According to the new Section 376E of the Penal Code, any person aged 18 and above will now be liable for an offence if they initiate or agree to at least one meeting to anyone below the age of 18 that leads to a sexual offence either during or after their meeting. It also does not matter if any prior meeting between them took place in or outside of Singapore.

If the victim is below the age of 14, the punishment for this offence is imprisonment that may extend up to 4 years and/or a fine. For any other case, the punishment may extend up to 3 years imprisonment.

What this means simply is that if you have a child below the age of 18, anyone they meet who is above the age of 18 will be subject to this law. This also includes sexual communication.

What is Sexual Communication?

Even if the person never meets the victim, the new Section 376EB now states it is an offence to send any form of sexual communication to the victim. This includes inappropriate text messages, photos and videos of a sexual nature. It does not matter where it was sent from, or if the victim replies or not. The mere act of sending such communication may lead to a 2 year jail sentence and/or a fine and if the victim is below 14, the jail term may be extended to 3 years.

This also means if you have a child who has access to the internet, it’s best to activate safeguards such as spam filters and monitoring who your child is talking to either online or via their messaging apps.

There are resources available online that guide you on how to activate child protection features on commonly used apps like Whatsapp and Facebook.

Clearer Definition for Commercial Sex Cases

The new amendments on Section 376B now include the definition of what ‘sexual services’ mean in commercial sex involving minors. In a previous article, we highlighted the problem of human trafficking in Singapore and there have been cases in the past where commercial sex workers turned out to be minors.

The new amendment now clearly defines what constitutes sexual offences. The punishment for those found guilty of an offence is up to 7 years in prison and/or a fine, and for anyone who expresses any interest in the form of communication to commit such an offence, may be liable for imprisonment up to 2 years and/or a fine. 

If you are currently in a situation where you may have encountered a sexual offence, or witnessed one – or if you are being accused of one, it’s best to contact a lawyer to better understand what the situation is, and what’s the best course of action to take.

Engaging a Lawyer

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Source: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/PC1871?ProvIds=P4XVI-P4_375-.#pr376B-

A Guide to Sexual Offences in Singapore [Part 1] – Consent

With a proliferation in cases of sexual offences in Singapore, including a four-fold increase in cases of child sex abuse since 2010, there have also been sexual offence cases between family members, as well as within schools and workplaces, and cases involving voyeurism, affecting all genders.

In response, Singapore’s Courts announced the Act 15 of 2019, which took effect in the beginning of 2020, with new laws to better protect women, including consent for marital sex, as well as laws to protect minors from sexual grooming, including those between the ages of 16 and 18. 

Although these recent amendments may seem like the reason there have been more such cases in court these days, the new laws also mean there is a need for clearer definitions and education on what exactly is a sexual offence. 

If you are currently seeking legal advice regarding a possible sexual offence case, you should speak to a lawyer.

The Main Difference is Consent

Most sexual offences are committed without the victim’s consent. In a previous article, we explained the meaning of sexual consent in the context of the law and their respective conditions. However just as with most cases involving intimacy, there will be certain grey areas, usually shaped by moral codes within society. 

A common issue in marital rape cases is that there is an expectation by the husband that sex is an entitlement in the marriage but according to Section 375(4),(5) of the Penal Code, the husband may have committed a sexual offence against his wife if she did not provide consent.

However, if the victim of a sexual offence is below the age of 14, then consent is inconsequential.

What are Sexual Offences?

Is a gentle slap on your friend’s buttocks harmless? Should you give your attractive colleague a nickname based on an adult actor you know? Is it okay to watch someone else changing their clothes from your own window? Is it okay to secretly film and watch videos of your colleagues even if you don’t mean to share them? The short answer to these questions is no. In fact, they might get you into trouble.

Sexual offences can be looked at as a broad spectrum of actions that involve the exploitation of someone else’s modesty or dignity. This can include acts such as making sexual innuendo jokes about a person or their physical appearance, which may seem harmless and funny for some, but may be extremely hurtful and offensive for others, to much more serious offences such as sexual assault and rape. 

Sexual Assault and Rape

According to Section 375 of the Penal Code, any man who penetrates another person’s vagina, mouth or anus with his penis, either without her consent, or if she’s below 14, will have committed rape and will be liable for up to 20 years imprisonment including caning or a fine.

If the offender physically hurts or even issues verbal threats before or while committing the offence, the person will be liable to a minimum of 8 years imprisonment and at least 12 strokes of the cane. 

For sexual assault cases involving penetration, Section 376 of the Penal Code will apply when the offender causes another person to commit the sexual offence either on themselves or on someone else without the victim’s consent, or if the victim is below 14. 

If found guilty, the offender will be liable for up to 20 years imprisonment including caning or a fine and similarly, if there was physical hurt or verbal threats included with the offence, then the offender is liable to a minimum of 8 years up to 20 in prison, and at least 12 strokes of the cane.

In Part 2, we will explain how the new changes in the law will better protect minors from sexual grooming and exploitative relationships.

Engaging a Lawyer

If you are currently in a situation that requires mediation or legal advice, it’s best to consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through your options.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Source: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/PC1871?ProvIds=P4XVI-P4_375-.#P4XVI-P4_375-

Maid Abuse in Singapore Remains a Common Issue

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Among the many headlines that we have seen in 2020, there has been a consistency with the number of maid abuse cases happening in Singapore recently, and especially so during the circuit breaker period.

Living in close proximity with family members for a prolonged period of time can be quite challenging for some, but for a maid, or domestic helper where work is also home, the challenges are different. Besides the cultural and language differences for those who are still new to their employers, the increased work demands have also led some of them towards drastic reactions, like the recent case involving a domestic helper who climbed down 15 storeys from the balcony of her flat to escape her abusive employer.

There are usually two sides in any situation but the key question remains, where do we draw the line between scolding and being abusive?

What is Maid Abuse?

Maid abuse as a legal term, consists of physical and psychological abuse which we have covered in an earlier article. With physical abuse, the Court considers the degree of harm, aggravating and mitigating factors, and with psychological abuse, the degree of harm caused is factored in.

As we have published here, the sentencing framework is meant to guide and clarify maid abuse cases as seen in the examples. These also include emotional abuse, and being forced into “humiliating and degrading” situations. 

This can also include repeated verbal abuse over a period of time that affects the victim’s emotional and mental state, leading to prolonged loss of appetite and massive weight loss even if there was never any physical violence committed. In this case, even words may be enough to cause damage to the victim and may be considered as a factor in court.

Do Working Conditions Contribute to Maid Abuse?

A CNN Report from 2017 highlighted the results of an independent survey by Research Across Borders titled “Bonded to the System” which revealed that a large number of migrant domestic workers in Singapore were vulnerable to labour exploitation, mainly due to a lack of adequate work regulations and legal protection such as being made to work additional hours outside their scope, as witnessed in the recent case involving Parti Liyani, or issues related to their salary. Since there isn’t a traditional minimum wage law in place in Singapore, most domestic workers earn on average, about S$600 a month.

According to an October 2019 survey conducted by YouGov, about 52% of Singaporeans believe domestic helpers should earn more than S$600 a month. About 88% are convinced that domestic helpers are leading a decent quality of life at the minimum, with only 12% describing it as poor. In the same survey, 14% of the respondents have witnessed a domestic helper being abused and 79% of them have heard of someone being abused, of whom 81% of them agree that more can be done to improve the quality of life for domestic helpers in Singapore.  

What Happens if I Scold My Maid But She Accuses Me of Abusing Her?

While this may have happened many times before, it is always advisable to be respectful and mindful no matter how badly your maid has erred. Never physically assault her and be wary of cultural and even religious differences when deciding your approach to communicating your grievances with her. If she does lodge a complaint against you, then you should speak to a lawyer.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Whenever you are faced in an abrasive situation with your maid, it’s best to first determine the actions committed and what options you have to deal with the situation. You should deal directly with your maid’s agency but in the event that option is not currently available, then ensure that communication is done in a civil manner. You may also bookmark this site for tips on how to deal in unexpected situations.

If you are currently facing a serious issue, either as a domestic helper or an employer that can’t be solved at home, you should consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through the process.

Help for Domestic Helpers in Singapore

For domestic helpers who need help, you may reach out to the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) or by contacting them at:

  • 1800 797 7977 (Toll-free)
  • +65 9787 3122 (Whatsapp / Viber / SMS)

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, high-profile criminal cases – to family and divorce matters. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

The Road Traffic Act and What You Need to Know

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2019 (“Act”) that was passed in Parliament in July 2019 took effect starting November 2019. Besides the reclassification of offences, there are new provisions that specifically target dangerous behaviour such as drink driving and using mobile devices while on the road, as well as changes to the license suspension and revocation system. 

While most of the amendments took effect in 2019, some of them will only start in the second half of 2020.

Here are some of the changes you can expect:

Reclassification of offences: Irresponsible driving offences will now be classified into Reckless or Dangerous Driving and Driving Without Care or Reasonable Consideration. This means Dangerous Driving is distinguished from Careless Driving through variables such as whether the driver was in the condition to drive safely, or if the traffic situation required the driver to be extra careful but he/she did not.

The Act also now categorises offences into four tiers which represent the different levels of harm caused. These include Hurt, Grievous Hurt, Endangers Life and Death.

Heavier punishments: For offences including drink driving, driving against the flow of traffic, swerving across lanes at high speed, and speeding past pedestrian crossings when one does not have the right of way, offenders will now face much heavier imprisonment terms and fines as compared to the existing Penal Code and Road Traffic Act.

Motorists who commit a Dangerous or Careless Driving offence under the influence of any illicit substances will also be liable for additional penalties that will be served consecutively. Repeat offenders can also expect higher maximum penalties compared to first-time offenders.

Longer bans: Irresponsible motorists will now be kept off the roads for much longer through the widening of the range of offences that will lead to minimum disqualification (DQ) periods, immediate suspension and vehicle forfeitures. Penalties for driving without a licence, or while suspended will result in increased punishments.

A new aggravating factor: The courts will now be able to consider a motorist’s past compounded road traffic offences as aggravating factors for his/her current road traffic offence.

Forfeiture of Motor Vehicles

According to Section 65AA, The Court may order the forfeiture of a motor vehicle if its driver has been convicted of reckless or dangerous driving on the application of the Public Prosecutor. However, if it can be proven that the person who committed the offence is not the vehicle owner, and that the driver had used the vehicle without the owner’s consent, then the vehicle must be released within one month from the date of seizure. 

The 2020 Provisions

While the latest amendment to the Road Traffic Act was announced and implemented in 2019, some of the new provisions only take effect starting August 2020. 

Section 65B pertains to the use of mobile communication devices while driving. As long as the driver of a vehicle holds a mobile communication in his/her hand while the vehicle is moving, the person will be guilty of an offence and might face up to 6 months in prison and/or a fine of not more than $1,000. Repeat offenders may face double the jail term and/or fine.

At first glance, it may seem like this law does not apply to wearable devices like smart watches, as long as it is worn as intended on the wrist. However, if you are using that device for a communicative function while driving, then it becomes an offence.

What is Communicative Function?

According to Section 65B(3), communicative function refers to any of the following:

  • Sending or receiving audio phone or video calls;
  • Sending or receiving of electronic documents, this can include .PDF or .DOC or any files from work;
  • Sending or receiving still or moving images, this can include photographs or gifs;
  • Sending or receiving audio or video files such as music or films;
  • Providing access to the internet, such as turning on your wireless hotspot for your passenger while driving;

If you have been summoned for a traffic offence recently that falls within one of these amendments, then it’s best to speak to a lawyer who will be able to guide you on your next course of action.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, family disputes to high-profile criminal cases. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

Source: 

https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/RTA1961?ProvIds=pr64-,pr65-,pr65AA-,pr65A-,pr65B-,pr67-,pr67A-&ViewType=Advance&Phrase=driving+without+licence&WiAl=1

What Happens When The Police Keep Your Passport?

court case Singapore Amarjit Singh

If the police have reasons to believe that you may be a suspect, or have been accused of committing a criminal offence, they may require you to surrender your passport. Are they allowed to do that? What happens after?

The answer to the first question is yes, but that is only provided the police officer is of the rank of sergeant or above and has the written consent of an officer above the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, who has been authorised by the Commissioner of Police to give the consent. 

This power is also applicable to other law enforcement agencies such as the Immigrations & Checkpoints Authority and Singapore Customs, but also only with the written consent of the head of the agency.

Return of Travel Document

According to section 113 of the criminal procedure Court, a person who has surrendered his passport may apply to the authorised officer, or the head or an authorised director of the law enforcement agency or a person of a similar rank, for its return.

However, if the application has been refused, then the person may apply to a District Judge and state their reasons for the application.

The District Judge may either grant the application subject to conditions that may require further surrender and a provision of security for the applicant’s appearance at a specific time and place, or simply refuse the application.

If the applicant fails to comply with any of the stated conditions, then any security that was provided for the passport’s return may be forfeited by a Magistrate, and the applicant may even be arrested and dealt with the same way as someone who refuses to surrender their passport without any valid reason.

What Happens if You Refuse to Surrender Your Passport?

If you refuse a police officer’s request to surrender your passport, you may be arrested and brought before a Magistrate. If you are still unable to provide a good reason for not surrendering your passport, you may be sent to jail and remain there until you surrender your passport.

In the event that you have been charged with an offence and applying to be released on bail, the court or prosecuting agency may require your passport as a condition of your bail or you may not be released on bail.

How Long Can The Police Keep Your Passport For?

If the police believe you have committed an offence, your passport may be held until the end of police investigations. You may apply for a return if there is an urgent requirement to do so. If your passport is being held as a condition for your bail, you may only get it back after the case is concluded.

What if You Need to Leave Singapore?

If you need to leave Singapore while out on bail, you may apply to the court to have it returned to you if you have a valid reason. This could include a serious illness or emergency involving a family member overseas, or even a planned holiday. You will also need to ensure your bailor is present when you make your application to leave Singapore. 

Do take note that the court may increase the bail amount if your application to leave Singapore while out on bail is approved.

What Other Ways Are There to Get Your Passport Back?

There is a system in place to ensure fairness throughout the different procedures. If the police have reasons to believe you have committed an offence and have taken your passport, you may apply to that police officer or the Commissioner of Police to explain your reasons why it should be returned to you.

If the police reject your application, you may apply to the District Court instead. However in the District Court, the return of your passport may be subjected to conditions it deems appropriate as well as a provision of security to make sure you attend court on a certain date.

If the court grants the return on the condition that you will have to re-surrender your passport at a later date and you refuse, you may be arrested and any security you had provided for the return of your passport will be forfeited.

Getting a Criminal Lawyer in Singapore

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from domestic violence, spousal and child maintenance; family disputes to high-profile divorce; care and control and custody issues, relocation and child abduction. There is a Team of 4 experienced lawyers in the Firm. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

(Recap) First Person to be Charged Under Singapore’s New Anti-Money Laundering Law

According to a Straits Times article published on June 25, a 23-year old Singaporean woman became the person to be charged under the Payment Services Act for providing payment services without a license.

The Payment Services Act 2019 was implemented at the beginning of 2020 for the purpose of fighting money laundering and terrorism financing. The law is also meant to strengthen consumer protection for e-payments.

The Case 

The woman was charged with one count of providing payment services without a licence by receiving at least 13 fraudulent fund transfers amounting to around $3,000 on a digital payment token service into her bank account near the end of February.

She then used the amount to buy Bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency that works on blockchain technology.

According to a Police spokesperson, “the amount deposited into her bank account turned out to be proceeds of crime from victims of online scams”. 

Due to her previous brushes with the law, her bail was set at $15,000 and if found guilty of the offence under the Payment Services Act, she can be jailed for up to three years and fined up to $125,000. 

Getting a Criminal Lawyer in Singapore

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years in civil and military courts from domestic violence, spousal and child maintenance; family disputes to high-profile divorce; care and control and custody issues, relocation and child abduction. There is a Team of 4 experienced lawyers in the Firm. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

What Happens if You Provide False Information in Your Singapore PR Application

Expat Laws in Singapore

Following media reports of new citizens and permanent residents obtaining fake degrees to work in Singapore, then-Second Minister of Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said back in May 2015, that individuals who provide false information in their Singapore citizenship or permanent residency applications will be “dealt with firmly”.

Offenders who have already been granted citizenship or permanent residency may also get them revoked.

Mr. Masagos also added that the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) has “multiple levels of checks” when processing such applications. These include: 

  • Requiring the applicant to produce original documents
  • Verifying the documents with the issuing authorities
  • Face-to-face interviews.

Providing False Academic Credentials

The authorities have taken tough action against offenders in previous cases, even those such as the one involving a Filipino woman who was jailed seven weeks after authorities determined that she had submitted false academic credentials when applying for her PR nearly a decade ago.

According to a statement released by ICA, she claimed that she graduated from Manila’s Centro Escolar University but verifications conducted with the university by ICA revealed that she had no records of enrollment in the institution. Both her diploma and transcripts cited in her residency applications, as well as her daughter’s, were found to be fake. 

The ICA also states that “for those who have been convicted of an offence, the statutes of their family members will also be reviewed by the ICA.”

Getting a Criminal Lawyer in Singapore

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, family disputes to high-profile criminal cases. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.

What Happens if You Lie To The Authorities in Singapore?

Amarjit Sidhu Law

When you furnish false information to a public servant, you will be guilty of a criminal offence punishable by a fine or even jail.

According to section 177 of the Penal Code, you are legally bound to provide accurate information to the authorities and if you are found to have done otherwise, you may be liable for sentencing or a fine, or both.

There are also three other sections within the Penal Code that deal with cases of providing false information or lying to public servants.

Making False Reports

Section 182: providing false information with intent to cause a public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person. This could refer to a police report against someone innocent out of spite, leading to a waste in police resources to investigate the matter. 

This section also covers offences such as making a false report against a public servant that would lead to investigative actions taken against them, disrupting their life.

Punishment: A jail term of up to 2 years, or a fine, or both.

Tampering With Evidence

Section 201: causing evidence of an offence committed to disappear, or giving false information to protect the offender. This could refer to a case of a person who knows of someone who had just committed a murder, but proceeds to help hide the body to protect the culprit from punishment.

Punishment: If the original offence is punishable by death, then the offender will get a jail term of up to 10 years, possibly including a fine. If the offence is punishable with life imprisonment, or up to 20 years in prison, the offender may be jailed up to 7 years, possibly including a fine. If the offence is punishable with anything less than 20 years in prison, the offender may be punished with a prison term of up to a quarter of the maximum prison term for the original offence, or with a fine.

Allowing A Criminal To Get Away

Section 203: deliberately giving false information to authorities, respecting the offence committed even after knowing the information to be false.

Punishment: a jail term of up to 2 years, a fine, or both. 

It is always best to provide the most accurate and truthful information to the best of your knowledge to aid authorities in keeping Singapore safe.

Getting a Criminal Lawyer in Singapore

Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of Amarjit Sidhu Law Practice has represented numerous clients in a wide variety of matters over the years from traffic offences, family disputes to high-profile criminal cases. With a vast knowledge of Singapore’s laws and a wealth of experience, Mr Amarjit Singh Sidhu will be able to provide valuable and timely advice for your situation. For more information, feel free to contact us for a consultation.