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.

  10 Responses to “One can get away with assaulting stranger in Singapore”

  1. [...] Discourse – Alice Cheong in Wonderland: One can get away with assaulting stranger in Singapore – Mr Brown: Dear NETS – My Very Own Glob {Curiosa Felicitas}: Secret blog of a P65 MP: Part [...]

  2. I have a personal experience to relate to this:
    I was in my car and some nutjob took offence with me so he overtook me (for honking at someone else), got out and yelled at me to come out and fight. I refused and he tried to hit my window a few times, he gave up when it didn’t shatter, so he started kicking in my door. Genuinely fearful for my life, I called the police who advised me to stay in the car, which i did. The guy gave up after about 10 mins of gesturing, berating and taking down my number plate in the process, and left. 15 mins later AFTER that, the police called to ask where i was.

    What takes the cake is that i followed up with a police report and after their investigations, their IO (investigating officer) said this is a civil matter and that if i wanted to pursue, to apply for a Magistrate’s Order. Gotta love our law.

  3. Beating up someone is a small issue according to our law. Protests or illegal assembly now, that is a serious crime and you will be arrested immediately.

  4. That depends on who the person is whacking… lol

  5. unless of course u are beating up an elite

  6. [...] Softly Surely – P65: New Media – A Formidable Political Dimension? – Alice Cheong in Wonderland: One can get away with assaulting stranger in Singapore – Mr Brown: Dear NETS – My Very Own Glob {Curiosa Felicitas}: Secret blog of a P65 MP: Part 3 – [...]

  7. Hi, I would like to enquire about this :if one is charged under section 133 of criminal procedure chapter 68 and is required to attend a hearing at court. Should the accused hire a lawyer to go down with him? Would it be better for him?And if the complaint against the accused is incorrect, what can the accused do to prove his innocence? Should he bring the evidence along to present it to the magistrate? Lastly, may i know what is the possible outcomes for this case?
    Thanks.

  8. My sister was recently assaulted by a male colleague, he threw a punch in her face for no valid reason, if he was not held back by some passerby, my sister could have suffer even serious injury. He even threatens my sister’s safety. My sis make a police report and was asked to apply to subordinate court to lodge the complain and they mention that as this is not an arrestable case, no further action can be taken at their end. We file with subordinate court and the magistrate order for a mediation.

    Such violent and assault against anyone is intolerable and especially so if a guy hits a women. But the victim is made to suffer in this process without any protection.Where should we seek help?

  9. We should petition up that police here are no longer arresting, they only play taiji now. They put to magistrate, even the sub court wonder why all cases go to them already. All police are trained to write report only. I have 8 pictures to show my mum injury being fist punched yesterday on 3 Dec 2013 4pm. I did whatever I could already. I really had done whatever they told me is “PROTOCOL” already. At the end of the tunnel there is no light. They don’t see blood, no weapon, they don’t take action. Cos maybe no promotion on small case. My mum is 62 yrs old beaten by her upstair neighbour, muscular guy when she confronted why he poured pail after pail of water down his kitchen window. Cos my mum’s kitchen was flooded and laundry inside the house were drenched too. He grip my mum and slammed her on the floor and when my mum tried to stand up, he fist punched her left neck near her ear.

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