Can a civilian arrest a criminal in Singapore?
Walking along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 2 on your way home from work, you notice a robbery taking place. An old lady is being held at knifepoint and she is about to surrender her valuables. Sizing up the situation, you notice that the robber is a slightly-built man of about 1.67m while you, standing at nearly 1.9m, with 20 years of Aikido training under your belt, can certainly overpower him, knife or no knife. What should you do?
Singapore’s Penal Code provides for the defence of private defence (self-defence). This allows one to defend the body or property of himself or others against harm, without fear of reprisal from the law. (Read more on the defence of private defence here.)
Even further beyond that, section 66 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows civilians (ordinary citizens who are not police officers) to arrest the criminal, but only if the offender has, in the civilian’s view, committed an arrestable offence. The civilian must, without unnecessary delay, then hand over the arrested person to a police officer or take him to a police station.
Examples of arrestable offences can be found below:
- Unlawful assemblies or rioting
- Impersonation of a public servant
- Obstruction a public servant in his duties, or threatening a public servant
- Affray (Fighting in public places)
- Fouling the water of a public spring or reservoir
- Rash or negligent driving
- Obscene acts in public
- Theft and robbery
- Criminal trespass
- Assault or the use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty (molest)
- Acts or attempts that cause or can cause death, including suicide, murder, or other rash acts
- Voluntarily causing grievous hurt
- Voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon
For a full list of arrestable offences, refer to the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code.
- Police Investigation Process in Singapore
- When Can the Police Arrest Someone?: Arrestable and Non-Arrestable Offences in Singapore
- Police Arrest Procedure in Singapore
- Can a civilian arrest a criminal in Singapore?
- Is lying to the police or authorities a punishable offence in Singapore?
- Surrender of Passport to the Police and How to Get It Back
- What to Do If You’re Being Investigated for a Criminal Offence in Singapore
- Can You Say No to a Lie Detector Test in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- Criminal Compensation in Singapore
- What Can I Do to Protect Myself in Self-Defence in Singapore?
- Claiming trial as an accused
- Mitigation Plea
- Pleading Guilty
- Criminal Appeals in Singapore
- Presidential Clemency in Singapore
- Probation in Singapore: Are You Eligible? Will You Have a Criminal Record?
- What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
- Reformative Training in Singapore: When will it be Ordered?
- Visiting a Loved One in Prison (And on Death Row) in Singapore
- Is it illegal to visit prostitutes in Singapore?
- What is the law on pornography in Singapore?
- What are Singapore’s laws on drug consumption?
- When is Gambling Illegal in Singapore?
- Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
- DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
- What is the Legal Drinking Age in Singapore? And Other Drinking-Related Laws
- The Difference Between Murder and Culpable Homicide in Singapore
- Is it illegal to commit suicide in Singapore? Will I be punished if my attempt at suicide fails?
- Is it illegal to feed stray animals in Singapore?
- What are Sham Marriages and are They Illegal in Singapore?
- Public assemblies and processions in Singapore – police permits and the Public Order Act
- What is the offence of Rioting?
- Voluntarily Causing Hurt in Singapore
- Misbehaving in public: 5 things you need to know
- Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?
- Guide to E-Scooter/Personal Mobility Device (PMD) Laws in Singapore
- Is Joining a Gang Illegal in Singapore?