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-

Family Violence And Circuit Breakers

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

According to a Straits Times article published in May 2020, there was an increase in domestic violence cases in Singapore, with about 476 police reports filed between April 7 to May 6. This was a 22% increase from the monthly average prior to the circuit breaker period, according to the Police.

These cases include assault, causing hurt, using criminal force, as well as criminal intimidation and wrongful confinement.

What are Considered Family and Spousal Violence?

According to the Ministry of Social & Family Development (MSF), family violence is defined as a violent, threatening or controlling behaviour towards your spouse or family members. These can include:

  • Action that causes physical injury
  • Direct or indirect threats of causing harm
  • Sexual assault of any kind
  • Emotional or psychological manipulation or gaslighting
  • Damaging of property
  • Socially isolating the person
  • Behaving in a way that causes a person to live in fear

Even without physical violence involved, family and spousal violence also include verbal abuse, threats, harassments, intimidating and controlling behaviour like setting excessive curfews or limiting access to friends or other family members.

Some of the more common forms of family violence include: 

  • Child Abuse – abuse or neglect of child by an adult; 
  • Spousal Abuse – violence between spouses, including ex-spouses 
  • Elder Abuse – a child abusing the parent; 
  • Vulnerable Adult Abuse – abuse of an adult who may be mentally or physically disabled; 
  • Dating Violence – abuse involving an intimate partner.

What Can I Do When I Witness an Abuse?

While there is no circuit breaker to immediately halt any violence, the most important thing you need to do when faced in a situation either for yourself, or as a bystander witnessing someone else getting abused, is to first call the Police at 999, or visit the nearest Neighbourhood Police Station for help. Below are some useful numbers you may call:

• National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868

• Big Love Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6445-0400

• Heart @ Fei Yue Child Protection Specialist Centre: 6819-9170

• Pave Integrated Services for Individual and Family Protection: 6555-0390

• Project StART: 6476-1482

• Trans Safe Centre: 6449-9088

• Community Psychology Hub’s Online Counselling platform: CPHOnlineCounselling.sg

• Touchline (Counselling): 1800-377-2252

• Care Corner Counselling Centre: 1800-353-5800

• Agency for Integrated Care Hotline: 1800-650-6060

Engaging a Family 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://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/coronavirus-more-cases-of-family-violence-during-circuit-breaker-police-to

Maid Abuse in Singapore Remains a Common Issue

Amarjit Sidhu Law Corporation

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.

How Do You Change Your Name in Singapore?

Expat Laws in Singapore

Whether it’s for religious purposes, or simply because you have found a more meaningful alternative, you are allowed to change your given name in Singapore. However to get this process started, what documents will you need? How much will the process cost? How long will it take? Can foreigners change their names in Singapore too? These are some of the commonly asked questions that we will address in this article.

The Deed Poll

To officially change your name in Singapore, you will first need a legal document drafted by a lawyer called a deed poll. You have to be present at the lawyer’s office during this process so that the lawyer can verify your identity and witness your signing, also known as the “executing” of the deed poll. This document will then serve as your declaration that you will be renouncing your current name and taking on a new one.

The simple reason why a deed poll is necessary is because Singapore authorities only recognise any name changes executed with a deed poll. 

If you are above the age of 21, you will need to bring either your NRIC (pink/blue), or 11B if you’re serving your National Service, or passport. If you are doing this for your child below the age of 21, then you’ll need to bring your NRIC or passport, together with your child’s original Birth Certificate with evidence of your relationship with the child. If the original Birth Certificate is not in English, you will also need to include a certified true copy, which includes a notarised English-translated version. The deed poll process usually costs around S$100.

If you are looking to change your child’s name, the consent and signatures of both parents are required. However, if you are in the midst of a divorce, or facing resistance from your ex-partner, then it’s best to consult a lawyer to guide you through this process.

Changing Your Name in Official Documents

Once you’ve executed the deed poll, you will then have to update your particulars with the authorities, starting with your NRIC.

NRIC: Log on to ICA’s website and under e-Services, you can submit a “Change IC Particulars (Self)” application with a digital copy of your deed poll. This application should be processed within 3 working days and ICA will mail you a collection notice within a week. You will then need to collect your new NRIC in person at the ICA building. Please bring along your original deed poll with the documents stated in the collection notice. You will need to complete this process within 28 days of changing your name and the application fee is S$60.

Passport: To apply for a name change in your passport, you have to apply for a new passport. Simply follow all the instructions listed here on ICA’s website.

A deed poll cannot be used to change the name on your birth or marriage certificates however, an exception applies if you are changing the name of your child who is less than 12 months old. You may change the child’s name without needing a deed poll.

You will also need to manually update all the other relevant organisations that you have been registered to with your new name. This includes your current company, banks, memberships and other accounts. You may also have to update your name on your existing credentials including your academic and professional certificates. 

What Exactly Can You Change About Your Name?

Some of the more common name changes in Singapore include:

  • Changing the order of the words, eg. Michael Tan Meng Seng to Tan Meng Seng Michael;
  • Changing the spelling of the name, eg. Micheal to Michael;
  • Inserting married names, eg. Rebecca Lee to Rebecca Lee-Tan;
  • Inserting Baptism or religious names, eg. Michael Tan Meng Seng to Michael Angelo Tan Meng Seng;
  • Inserting, deleting or modifying an English or Western name even if you are not Christian, eg. Tan Meng Seng to Michael Tan Meng Seng;
  • Inserting, deleting or modifying any punctuation in your name, eg. Michael Tan Meng Seng to Michael Tan Meng-Seng;
  • Inserting, deleting or modifying your hanyu pinyin name;
  • Inserting, deleting or modifying the Chinese or Tamil characters in your name

Please remember that you cannot change your race, religion or other particulars with a deed poll. You will need to contact ICA directly for more information on how to amend those. Although rejections are uncommon, the ICA may reject certain names, especially those that are offensive or vulgar. Names that resemble famous politicians, or containing honorary titles such as ‘Datuk’ or even ‘Sir’ might also be rejected. There is also no limit to how many times you can change your name.

Can Foreigners in Singapore Change Names Too?

Technically foreigners, including Permanent Residents, can engage a Singaporean lawyer to execute a deed poll in Singapore. However, the name change also depends if the person’s home country recognises it depending on their respective laws and regulations.

If you are a foreigner residing in Singapore planning to change your name, it’s best that you first check with your respective embassy or consulate office in Singapore to determine if the deed poll executed in Singapore will be recognised in your country. Otherwise, it would be advisable to do it back home.

What About Singaporeans Living Overseas?

If you are unable to return to Singapore during this period, then a deed poll may be executed with a foreign lawyer and you may then update your new name online at ICA’s website. You will then need to contact the Singapore embassy’s consular section in the country of your stay to change your name in your passport.

Is a Deed Poll Mandatory?

Do take note that a deed poll is not necessary if you plan to include your married name to your original name on your NRIC as long as you submit your marriage certification. For name changes based on religious purposes, ICA will require a Baptism or religious certificate to process your application.

If you are currently planning to change your name or your child’s, you should consult a lawyer who will be able to guide you through this process.

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.

Additional Resource: https://singaporelegaladvice.com/law-articles/how-do-i-legally-change-my-name/

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?

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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.

Is There Human Trafficking in Singapore?

silent

The short answer is yes. In fact, according to the International Organisation of Migration, about 200,000 women and children are trafficked annually from Southeast Asia, making up a third of the global trafficking trade.

Singapore has emerged as a popular destination for human trafficking victims and also as a transit country where victims either travel through, or stay for a temporary period before moving on to the destination country.

What is Human Trafficking?

By definition, human trafficking is the action of either recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving an individual for the purpose of exploitation.

According to section 3(1) of Singapore’s Prevention of Human Trafficking Act (PHTA), a person using either of these means on their victims will be said to have committed an offence:

  • Threat or use of force, or any other form of coercion;

  • Abduction;

  • Fraud or deception;

  • Abuse of power;

  • Abuse of the individual’s vulnerability; or

  • Bribes

However, if the victim is under the age of 18 years old, they will be considered to have been trafficked even if the offender had not used either of the above means to coerce the victim. In fact, it would not even matter if the victim had consented or not, and if the offender was the victim’s parent, it would still be an offence.

Types of Human Trafficking in Singapore


The most common trafficking activities in Singapore have been mostly related to sex, forced labour and child trafficking. This may be due to traffickers capitalising on Singapore’s strong economy and reputation by deceiving victims into believing they may obtain work opportunities in the country.

Women for sexual exploitation: victims are tricked into leaving their countries for Singapore with offers of legitimate employment. Some of these offers might have been unlawfully extended by recruitment agencies.

The victims would then be forced into debt after being charged extremely high administrative and recruitment fees and may also be tricked into signing contracts with terms that they did not initially agree upon. As a result, they may end up working in a job they did not sign up for, earning much less than what was offered.

Upon arrival in Singapore, they will get their travel documents confiscated and eventually, coerced into prostitution to pay off the debt.

Forced labour: victims include construction workers, domestic helpers and other labour-intensive jobs. 

Upon reaching Singapore, the victims will be told that they have incurred a large amount of debt in the form of recruitment, transportation, visa processing and even commendation fees. Sometimes there is even an interest imposed on the original debt.

The victims may also be warned that they would be fined or subject to penalties if they fail to reach a quota of number of hours worked or goods produced and over time, the debt incurred increases to the extent that the victim may find themselves unable to ever pay off the full amount, resulting in debt bondage — or forced to work under conditions of slavery. 

Child trafficking: according to a factsheet by ECPAT International, a child protection network, over 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide annually with Singapore as one of the destinations for victims from neighbouring countries such as The Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and China. 

There are also a number of Singaporean sex tourists who travel overseas to engage in these acts, possibly contributing to the increasing number of children being trafficked to serve this demand.

Example of a Human Trafficking Case in Singapore


According to an article published by the Straits Times on 12th February 2020, a couple was found guilty of offences under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act in November last year. They were each sentenced to five years and six months’ jail for three counts of abusing their power to exploit their victims. They were also fined $7,500 each, and ordered to pay compensation of $4,878.31 to one of their victims over unpaid wages. 

The couple managed Hindi entertainment clubs in Singapore and exploited three of their female nightclub workers, even coaxing one of them to prostitute herself.

The wife was also convicted of three prostitution-related offences under the Women’s Charter.

The Deputy public prosecutors in charge of the case had stated in their submissions that the husband was the sole managing operator of one club in the city area and was responsible for recruiting performing artists at a nearby nightspot. 

He recruited three female Bangladeshi dancers for the clubs and provided them accommodation in the couple’s apartment. The couple jointly managing the daily operations of the two clubs and their employees was also found to have confiscated the victims’ passports, work permits and mobile phones.

The victim testified in court that the wife had told her to “go out with customers”, meaning to having sex with them. The victim initially disagreed and wanted to return to Bangladesh but she was told that she had to pay a fee of 400,000 Bangladeshi taka (S$6,500). The victim was approached by the wife again with a similar proposal multiple times and was even told that she could remit half her earnings back home.

However, each time the victim returned to their apartment after having sex with the customers, she would be subjected to a body search by the wife who will take away all the money and items that she had received. 

The victim eventually fled the club through its back door in May 2016 after woking there for about five months.

Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling

Although these two terms may seem related, they are not. In fact, there is a very important difference.

Migrant Smuggling: the act of transporting people for the purpose of illegal entry into a certain country. The individual may have consented.

Human Trafficking: the act of either recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring or receiving an individual for the purpose of exploitation. Consent is irrelevant here as it may have been obtained via deceptive methods of the trafficker.

Punishment for Human Trafficking in Singapore

Besides Human trafficking, you can also be charged if you were found to have played a role in abetting the offence, even in the form of providing transportation or facilitating the crime, or receiving payment in connection with the exploitation of a trafficked victim. 

All three offences carry the maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and up to six strokes of the cane. Repeat offenders will face tougher penalties.

What Happens If You Spot Someone Who May Need Help?

There are some general telltale signs among victims of human trafficking and if you spot someone who exhibits some, or most of these characteristics, they may be a victim.

  • Appearing malnourished
  • Living in a cramped space with multiple people
  • Showing signs of physical abuse
  • Avoiding eye contact during social interactions
  • Overly scripted responses in social settings
  • Lack of official identification documents
  • Unusually anxious or fearful reaction to law enforcement or
    immigration officials
  • Little to no personal possessions
  • Lack of knowledge to which city the person is at

If you suspect a case of human trafficking, you may make either a police report, or to the Ministry of Manpower for labour trafficking cases.

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.