Singapore Raise Penalty to 10 Year Imprisonment for Money Laundering

During one of my previous posts on being money mule to carry out money laundering activities, the Singapore’s Government has once again came with amendments in the law to increase punishment for those involved in money laundering. Some changes are also been made to quicken the process to determine the offence committed by individual(s) as well.

As an effort to break down syndicates and individuals on transnational money laundering activities, Singapore’s Parliament has passed down amendment to the law on 7th July 2014, allowing the Government to deal more quickly with criminal operations and deprive offenders of their illicit gains.

One of the changes will be to the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act which maximum penalty for money laundering has been increased to 10 years imprisonment from the previous 7 years and reducing the threshold by a third for cross-border cash reporting.

In addition, amendments were also made that enforcement agencies could accept evidence, such as court judgement and statements by experts even if offences escalated from a foreign country. The amendments will smoothen the process of investigation and prosecute foreign predicate offences.

Precious Stones and Metal Dealers Sector Added to the Act

Another changes to the Act is inclusion of precious stones and metal dealers, such that dealers are required to verify a customer’s identity and file a report with Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office for cash sales exceeding S$ 20,000. Transaction records shall be kept for five years from the date of filing.

Furthermore, the dual criminality requirement for foreign tax evasion offences will also be removed, as long as the offence is criminalised in the foreign jurisdiction and is committed “wilfully” with the intent to evade tax.

Property and Jewellery Susceptible to Money Laundering Activities.

Few Members of Parliament (MPs) has rose their support for the amendments and raised that there was also a need to monitor non-finance sector such as high-end property and jewellery markets, which are just as susceptible to money laundering activities. It is also questionable out how virtual currency, such as bitcoin could be monitored as well.

Amidst of all these changes, the MPs are also concerned about the monetary and administrative costs of compliance.

Source: Maximum jail term for money laundering raised to 10 years. Today Online, 8th July 2014.

LTA to Implement a Tiered Fines Regime for Repeat Illegal Parking Offenders

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has announced higher fines for repeat offenders for illegal parking. Starting from 1st Jan 2015, a new tiered fines regime, such that motorists who receive second Notice of Traffic Offence (NTO) within 12 months will need to pay a higher tier of fines.

A motorist caught parking a light vehicle along unbroken double yellow lines will be fined S$110, instead of S$70 if it is the second NTO he has been issued within 12 months.

The number  of demerit points, which are meted out for more serious illegal parking offences, will remain unchanged. NTOs issues prior to 1st Jan 2015 will not be taken into consideration when applying the tiered fines regime.

This is the first adjustment to illegal parking in twenty years. LTA commented that about half of all illegal parking traffic notices issued between 2011 and 2014 were committed by repeat offenders and the latest revision is to reduce the number of repeat offenders and hence decrease in the numbers of illegal parking offences.

Example of New Tiered System Implementation.

Addition of Second Tier Fines Amount for Illegal Parking Offences.

In addition, LTA has planned to install CCTV surveillance cameras at 40 more locations to deter illegal parking. It had installed CCTV cameras at 30 locations earlier this year which has “resulted in significantly smoother traffic.”

As mentioned by Dr Chin Kian Keong, LTA’s Group Director for Transportation and Road Operations, that after the new implementation of CCTV cameras, there were signs of improved traffic conditions in stretches of roads that used to suffer from obstruction caused by indiscriminately parked vehicles, such as Beach Road, Bishan Road and Pasir Panjang Road.

New Locations For CCTV Cameras in 2015.

Source: LTA raises fines for illegal parking. Channel News Asia, 22 Dec 2014.

Fine for Public Nudity in Singapore ? Oww, No Nude Beaches Here…

Looking out for a nice beach in Singapore for a nude sun tan ? You might want to re-consider your option.Under Singapore’s Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, one maybe be charged guilty of public nudity and face up to three months in jail, and a fine up to $2,000.

One of the recent case was one couple has allegedly stripped naked and had sex in a Jacuzzi at Resorts World Sentosa’s Beach Villas. Although the Jacuzzi was meant only for the couple’s villa, it sat within a larger pool being enjoyed by other guests which some among them was just children. The couple may be also charge for committing an obscene act in public as well.

Source: Couple cause stir in Resorts World Sentosa Jacuzzi, Straits Times, 13 Dec 2014.

Singapore Implements New Regulations for Bus Touting

Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be kicking off the new regulations on Jan 1, 2015 to punish those private bus drivers caught touting their transport services. If convicted under the Road Traffic Rules, errant drivers can be fined up to $1,000 or sentenced up to three months in jail.

LTA mentioned that holders of the Bus Driver’s Vocational Licence (BDVL) will be informed in writing of the new regulations and penalty framework. BDVL is a mandatory license for those who drive either private hires buses, excursion buses and school buses.

What Is Bus Touting ?

Bus touting refers to a kind of illegal bus operation which involves bus drivers (or their operator) attracting potential passengers by illegal means – for instance, calling out people to take on their bus while traveling along the route.

Public can call 1800-CALL LTA (1800-2255 582) or give feedback to LTA at if they notice any bus touting activities.

Source: Private bus drivers to face fines, jail for touting their services. The Straits Time, 15 Dec 2014.