Chewing Gum Banned in Singapore (Since 1992)

One of the popular questions among tourist to Singapore, “No chewing gum in Singapore ?” It might not be surprising to Singapore as the banned has been implemented more than two decades back.

What could have prompt the government to take such extreme measures ? That was because of the increasing inconsiderate people eating chewing gum, spitting and sticking them almost everywhere. It has been such a big hassle to clean up chewing gums stain left on the streets floors, public transport seats and other areas. Cleaning costs for clearing the chewing gums are getting enormous and Singapore, trying to portray itself as a clean and green country, banned chewing gum which came into effect in 1992.

Related: Fines In Singapore For Spitting In Public

The law prohibits the personal use of chewing gum and also any kinds of way to bring the gum into Singapore. However, the government loosen the ban in 2004, where chewing gum of therapeutic value was allowed in Singapore under United-States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

Related: Corrective Work Order And Fines For Littering In Public

If it was the public issues that are causing the ban in Singapore, how about non-stick chewing gum ? In an article which I saw last year, Revolymer has developed the world’s 1st non-stick chewing gum and would that helps to lift the ban in Singapore which was been effected for more than 2 decades from now ?

Under the law, no gum is allowed to be bought or sold inside Singapore and there is a $500 fine for spitting out gum on the streets.

Woman Fined $12,000 For Failing To Pay Fares To 10 Taxi Drivers

Ms. Liu Meiqi, 33, was fined a total of $12,000 or five days’ jail on each charge after admitting to 10 counts of failure to pay taxi fares between 5th October 2014 and 8th March last year. The fares ranged from $6 to $35, amounted to a mere $133. The cases happened on eight incidents with Comfort and two other on CityCab.

How She Avoid Payment

She had used her Maybank credit card to pay for the cab fare but the transactions were not successful. Subsequently, she would say that she does not have any cash and will transfer the cab fares via bank transfer to the taxi drivers. She provided her identity card and mobile phone number to the taxi drivers which she would either not answer the calls or says she was busy or switch off her mobile phone when contacted for the requested of delayed payment.

She had a similar conviction in 2014 when she was fined a total of $2,400 for failing to pay four taxi drivers.

She could have been fined up to $2,000 per charge.

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.

Corrective Work Order and Fines for Littering in Public in Singapore

Singapore has a very good reputation as a clean and green city and this cannot be achieve without strict enforcement on littering. While getting a fine is just part of the penalty, the government have passed down laws to tackle these litterbugs by hurting their pride as well. By just casual throwing rubbish onto the ground in the public, not only you could be fined $300 as a first time offender, you may also face a court hearing which earn you a “chance” for public cleaning. That is the Corrective Work Order.

Related: Chewing Gums Banned In Singapore

What is Corrective Work Order (CWO) Scheme ?

Corrective Work Order was first introduced in November 1992 to reform litterbugs. This act was considered as a form of counseling, reflecting to them the hardship cleaners faced while cleaning up the public places. Litterbugs would be required to accomphlish a certain amount of service hours picking up rubbish in public places. To make things worse, offenders are required to wear a bright orange jersey, identifying themselves as the litterbugs while cleaning up the areas. This bring shame to them and hopes that they would not repeat their acts again.

Harsher Penalties For Litterbugs

To tackle litterbugs rising in recent years, the Environmental Public Health Act has been amended to discourage those that behave irresponsibly. The courtroom fines for littering offenders was doubled since April 2014 to $2,000 for first offence, $4,,000 for second offence and $10,000 for third and subsequent offences.

    Updated on 23 September 2014

    Stricter Laws for Using Handphone While Driving in Singapore, Constitute Fines and Jail Terms

    Singapore Parliament has just passed amended laws governing the use of mobile devices while driving on Monday, 8 September 2014. The changes to the Road Traffic Act now governs handphone driving as a criminal offence and will impose fines and jail term.

    Holding and using mobile devices while driving, be it a phone or tablet will be constitute as an offence as it is seen as an act that not only endangers oneself’s life, but as well passengers and other road users. However, these apply only if the device is held in one hand while the vehicle is moving.

    First-time offenders may be fined up to S$1,000 and/or jailed for up to six months. The penalty is doubled for repeat offenders.

    The amended laws, will come into effect in February 2015 which calling, sending text message, internet surfing, playing games, checking emails or social media and download content with a mobile device while driving is considered as an offence.

    Mixed Feelings Among Members of Parliament

    While the stricter laws is implemented for handphone driving, there are still some devices that mounted on the dashboards, gaming devices and other IT gadgets such as Google Glass that are not covered under the law which are equally distracting while driving.

    Some mentioned that it should also be an offence to hold and use these devices even when the vehicle is not moving, e.g. stopping at traffic lights or in a traffic jam.

    Hri Kumar, MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC has commented that even though through the usage of hands-free devices, it is still equally dangerous as using handheld devices as showed in many studies. Reason behind because the real distraction is the phone conversation and not having both hands not on the steering wheel. He has suggested that restrictions should be apply to the entire driving process and should be lifted off till the car is safely parked.

    The Summons Numbers 

    Reports shows that using mobile phone while driving has increased over the years, from 2,817 cases in 2011 to 3,572 cases in 2013. In the first six months of 2014, there has already been a case of 1,761 summonses were issued. The increase number in summonses was extreme measured approach in tightening the rules on handphone driving as mentioned by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli.

    Other Changes To Road Traffic Act

    Some other changes to the Road Traffic Act as below:

    • Drivers of light goods vehicles and small buses will need to take the Practical Driving Test when renewing licences. They will then be issued with a full Class 3 licence.
    • Vehicle owners need to give Traffic Police details of a traffic offence within 14 days of receiving notice, extended from seven days. Otherwise, owner will be charged with failing to furnish the information on top of the traffic offence.
    • Motorists involved in accidents that have caused damage or injury are to provide their particulars to the owner of the vehicle or property, even when no one is around to ask for information. For example, if a motorist hits a parked car, he should leave a note on the damaged car with his particulars.
    • Unless contacted by the owner, all motorists must report the accident to the police within 24 hours or the motorist will be liable to be charged under the offence of hit-and-run.

    What Is The Fine Penalty For Internet Hacking In Singapore ?

    While countries are developed, they tends to rely heavily on technology and computerised process to fasten and provide better security. However, hidden in the backstage was a group of hackers that will be ready anytime to take down the basic internet infrastructure that every citizen are enjoying.

    Under the Computer Misuse Act, first-time offenders who are found guilty can be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to three years.

    That applies to Singapore as well. To deal with new potential abuses of computer systems, the Parliament introduced Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill on 1st June 1998. The bill passed on 29th June 1998 and came into force on 1st August 1998. The Computer Misuse Act was renamed the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act in 2013.

    Case Studies

    In 2013, hacktivist organisation, Anonymous, represented by a member known as “The Messiah” carried out ongoing cyber attacks since October 2013, partly in response to web censorship regulations in Singapore, specifically on news websites. Wearing the signature Guy Fawkes mask, “The Messiah” aka Mr. James Raj threatened to “bring down key infrastructure in Singapore”.

    In afternoon of 2nd November, he took down 19 government websites simultaneously and alleged used a government agency use Twitter to announce that sites were down due to “planned maintenance”. Mr. James Raj was charged in the Subordinate Courts on 12th November 2013. Despite his high-profile hacking activities, 13 schools website hosted on a single server was hacked and reportedly defaced between 3.30pm to 5pm on 20th November 2013.

    Source: Wikipedia

    Delson Moo Hiang Kng was fined $8,000 on 5th June 2014 for hacking of Istana website. The 43-year-old pleaded guilty to one charge of unauthorised access to the server hosting the Istana website, carrying out a cross-site scripting attack on Google search function embedded in the website. With the embedded script, he could cause the search function to display text and images that he had specified.

    The businessman was charged last November with two counts of unauthorised modification of computer material under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.

    Source: ChannelNewsAsia, 5th June 2014.

    Heavy Penalties for Late or Non-payment for Employee Salary in Singapore

    employer did not pay my salary

    Singapore is a country that focuses much on human resources for its economical growth while the country’s itself does not have much of natural resources to boost the economy. As such, the Singapore’s government has taken serious measures to protect the local labour workforce, ensuring that they are being protected by unfair practices engaged by companies.

    A law was enacted in 1968 called The Employment Act by one of the ministries, Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to ensure that reasonable employment standards is practice throughout the industry while still helping businesses’ to achieve competitiveness in the market.

    First time offender will be liable to a fine between S$3,000.00 and S$15,000.00 and/or 6 months’ jail term while a subsequent offence will be liable to a fine between S$6,000.00 and S$30,000.00 and/or 12 months’ jail term.

    One of the protection was the payment of salary to the employees are to be on time and without unreasonable deductions of the salary to be make by the employers. Their main aim is to ensure that individuals such as directors or partners of the companies are made liable for the offences, whom has failed to exercise reasonable supervision or negligence of their part.

    As stipulated under the Employment Act the payment of salary to the employees shall be:

    • Paid before the expiry of the 7th day after the last day of salary period
    • Additional payments for overtime work shall be paid not later than 14 days after the last day of salary period
    • Salary due to an employee on completion of his contract of service upon completion of the contract.
    • Any employee dismissed by the company to be paid on the day of dismissal or within 3 days of the dismissal (excluding rest day or public holidays)

    The maximum composition fine for employers has been increased from the previous S$1,000.00 to S$5,000.00.

    Penalties has been imposed for flouting of the late or non-payment for employee salary while an revision has been made much recently for heavier penalties for the non-compliance of the Employment Act. Government inspectors are also granted the power to arrest any person whom he believes to be guilty of failure to pay the salary and allowed to enter and workplace to conducts checks. Though the law, employers are still able to rebut the presumption by proving evidence that he has exercised reasonable supervision or oversight to avoid penalties by the MOM.

    Case Studies

    Five Companies in the construction sector are charged for a series of employment-related offences, including late salary payments and workers exceeding lawful overtime hours. In a statement by MOM, JK Integrated, Ng Brother Scaffolding, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering, Shanghai Tunnel Engineering (Singapore) and Straits Construction (Singapore) where charged in the State Courts for failure to comply with Employment Act, each firm facing between 26 to 47 charges each.

    Source: ChannelNewsAsia, 5th June 2014.

    Article updated on 10th June 2014