What is the world coming to? You mean, we can get away with assaulting stranger in Singapore? I thought that Singapore is a safe place that one can walk the street after night fall.
Oh, Singapore is a safe place for your goods and your car. The police will arrest the culprit on spot if the guilty party vandalize (Vandalism Act, Chapter 341, Section 6) your car or shoplift (Penal Code, Chapter 224, Section 379) your goods. However, a police cannot arrest an assaulter who does not use weapons if your injury is not grievous.
We have a loophole in the law, in which a wide range of non-grievous assault without weapon is treated with the same law (Penal Code, Chapter 224, Section 323). We have our Ms Ang (from Singapore Police Force Media Relations) replying to the ST forum on 14-Apr-2007, “On the other hand, Section 323 cases can range from a parent disciplining his child by slapping him to family disputes between adults, leading to a fight. Most family-related cases are resolved amicably without police intervention and the parties often do not necessarily want to seek redress through the legal system.”
And, our good law, is using this same law to address non-family assaults. That includes cases such as a stranger punching you in the face and walked off. This law (Penal Code, Chapter 224, Section 323), according to Criminal Procedure Code, is a non-seizable offence (Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 68, Section 2). In layman terms, it means that the victim needs to get a Magistrate order (Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 68, Section 133-(1)) which requires one working day to be issued before the assaulter can be arrested, regardless of the number of witnesses. Since the police will not be able to arrest the assaulter on spot, they will not bother to chase after the assaulter to obtain their identity. Quoting Ms Ang again, “Police would like to reiterate that when a call about an assault is received, our officers would proceed to the scene to gather evidence or speak to any witnesses present.”
However, this loophole only exists for voluntarily causing hurt without using any dangerous weapons or mean, does not cause *grievous injury and as long as the assaulter is not identifiable, especially after the lapse of one working day. But, just make sure the stranger is not a public servant (such as MPs) or police. They are exceptional cases.
Even through, legally, (according to the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 68, Section 133-(3)), public servants or police is not under the exceptional case for the offence non-grievous assault without weapon, the commoner’s feeling is otherwise. (Legally, public servants or police do not need to a Magistrate to examine a complaint that is defined in the Penal Code which is punishable with imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months or with fine only, provided that the complaint is in writing and signed by the police officer or public servant. However, non-grievous assault without weapon is punishable with imprisonment for 2 years, or fine, or both, which means, it does not legally fall under the exceptional case.)
*Legally, (according to Penal Code, Chapter 224, Section 320), grievous injury is defined as (a) emasculation; (aa) death; (b) permanent privation of the sight of either eye; (c) permanent privation of the hearing of either ear; (d) privation of any member or joint; (e) destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint; (f) permanent disfiguration of the head or face; (g) fracture or dislocation of a bone; (h) any hurt which endangers life, or which causes the sufferer to be, during the space of 20 days, in severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits; (i) penetration of the vagina or anus, as the case may be, of a person without that person’s consent, which causes severe bodily pain.