Is it illegal to threaten to beat someone up over Facebook?

Last updated on January 1, 2012

Threats of bodily harm and physical violence can land one in hot soup, so watch what you say or type over the internet. Pursuant to section 503 of the Penal Code, whoever threatens to either inflict injury to another person or damage his property with an intention to cause alarm to the victim, or to compel the victim to do something (or not do something), commits the offence of criminal intimidation.

For example, jilted lover Peter threatens to give the third-party a “one time good one” – in other words, a good walloping. He types this message over Facebook. Peter is probably guilty of criminal intimidation. However, seeing how such cases are so prevalent nowadays given the ubiquity of blogs and social media, and coupled with the typical tender ages of their users, it is likely that not all such cases will be assiduously prosecuted by the authorities unless there is sufficient concern to do so.

Pursuant to section 506 of the Penal Code, criminal intimidation (involving threats of physical violence) is punishable with a jail term of up to 2 years, or a fine, or both.

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