Is Suicide Illegal in Singapore? Will I Be Punished for Trying?
As of 1 January 2020, attempting suicide is not illegal in Singapore. A person who attempts suicide will not be punished for trying.
However, if a police officer has reasons to suspect that a person is about to attempt suicide, or has attempted suicide, the officer will have certain powers to try and stop the attempt, and to prevent the person from getting hurt.
These powers include:
- Searching places (and forcibly gaining entry into these places if necessary)
- Searching people and removing all items found on them, except their clothes
- Searching for documents related to the suicide attempt
- Seizing and preventing the disposal of items related to the suicide attempt
Will a Person Who Succeeds in Committing Suicide Still Get Punished?
A person who succeeds and dies as a result of suicide in Singapore will also not be punished, for obvious reasons. The urban legend that a deceased person who dies via suicide will have his corpse handcuffed and arrested, and/or whipped as punishment, is merely a myth.
Instead, when a person dies by suicide, police procedure is to first check for vital signs. (If the person had hanged himself, the police will cut the person down first before checking for vital signs.)
The police will then secure the scene for further investigations. At the same time, the body is put into a body bag and transported via a police hearse to the Health Sciences Authority mortuary. There, a pathologist will examine the body to determine the cause of death.
Will a Person Who Encourages Another to Commit Suicide be Punished?
Also, under section 305 of the Penal Code, if the person who attempted suicide was a minor, or lacked the capacity to understand the consequences of attempting or committing suicide:
- The abettor is liable for either the death penalty or life imprisonment, or up to 20 years’ jail and a fine, if the suicide attempt succeeded
- The abettor is liable for life imprisonment, or up to 20 years’ jail and a fine, if the suicide attempt failed and the attempter suffered hurt in the process
- The abettor is liable for up to 15 years’ jail and a fine if the suicide attempt failed and the attempter was not hurt
A minor refers to someone under 18 years old. On the other hand, a person lacking of capacity refers to someone unable to understand the consequences of suicide, whether due to situations such as having a mental condition, or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Does a Doctor Commit an Offence by Turning Off a Person’s Life Support?
In contrast, as long as a person is above 21 years of age, he can sign a legal document known as an Advance Medical Directive. This document allows him to inform his doctor that he does not wish to be given life-sustaining treatment in the event that he is unconscious with a terminal illness such that he is unable to make his wishes known at that point in time.
In such cases, given the patient’s express consent, the doctor will not be held as an abettor of suicide if he switches off life support and allows the patient to die.
Life Can be a Struggle, But Know That You’re Not Alone
If you or someone you know in Singapore needs help, you can call the following helplines:
- Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389 2222
- Silver Ribbon: 6386 1928
- Tinkle Friend (for primary school students): 1800-274-4788
- Care Corner Counselling Centre (Mandarin): 1800-353-5800
- How to Write a Letter of Representation to AGC in Singapore
- What is Entrapment and is It Legal in Singapore?
- Juvenile Crime: What If Your Child is Arrested in Singapore?
- Police Investigation Process in Singapore
- Arrest Warrant Issued Against You in Singapore: What to Do
- Police Arrest Procedure in Singapore
- Arrestable and Non-Arrestable Offences in Singapore
- What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
- Can the Public Make a Citizen's Arrest in Singapore?
- What to Do If You’re Being Investigated for a Criminal Offence in Singapore
- "Right to Remain Silent" to Singapore Police: Does It Exist?
- Police Custody in Singapore: What You Should Know
- Search Warrant: The Issuance and Execution of It in Singapore
- Penalties for Lying to the Authorities in Singapore
- Can You Say No to a Lie Detector Test in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- Surrender of Passport to the Police and How to Get It Back
- Extradition: What If I Flee After Committing Crime in Singapore
- Can I Represent Myself in a Criminal Court Case in Singapore and How?
- Claiming Trial as an Accused
- Pleading Guilty in Singapore: Consequences & Withdrawal of Plea
- The Defence of Unsound Mind in Singapore: What is It?
- Gag Orders in Singapore: Whose Identity Can be Protected?
- Mitigation Plea: How to Plead for Leniency in Court in Singapore
- Guide to Filing a Criminal Appeal in Singapore
- Criminal Motion: What is It and How to File One in Singapore
- Guide to Filing a Criminal Revision in Singapore
- Presidential Clemency in Singapore
- Repatriation or Deportation from Singapore: How Does It Work?
- Criminal Records in Singapore
- Visiting a Loved One in Prison or On Death Row in Singapore
- Getting Parole (Early Prison Release) in Singapore
- How Long Is Life Imprisonment in Singapore? And Other FAQs
- Consequences of Receiving a Stern Warning in Singapore
- Probation: Eligibility and Whether It Leaves a Criminal Record
- How Can Adult Offenders Get Probation in Singapore?
- Reformative Training in Singapore: When Will It be Ordered?
- Are You Eligible for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?
- Caning in Singapore: Judicial, School & Parental Corporal Punishment
- 7 Detention Orders in Singapore: When Will They be Ordered?
- Day Reporting Order: Eligibility and Offender's Obligations
- Rape Laws in Singapore and How Offenders Can Be Punished
- Sexual Misconduct in Singapore: Offences and What Victims Can Do
- Legal Age for Sex in Singapore and Common Sexual Offences
- Consent in Sexual Offences in Singapore and What Victims Can Do
- Accused of Molest: Outrage of Modesty in Singapore
- What Can Victims of Sexual Harassment in Singapore Do?
- What is the Law on Sexting in Singapore?
- Revenge Porn: What If Your Nudes are Leaked in Singapore?
- Crime of Voyeurism in Singapore (Penalties and Defences)
- Date Rape: What to Do If Your Drink Has Been Unlawfully Spiked?
- STDs: Can I Go to the Police If a Partner Infected Me in Singapore?
- Singapore's Legal Smoking Age & Common Smoking Offences
- Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
- Legal Drinking Age and Drinking-Related Laws in Singapore
- Is Watching, Downloading or Filming Porn Illegal in Singapore?
- Child Pornography in Singapore: Offences and Penalties
- Is it illegal to visit prostitutes in Singapore?
- Singapore's Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking
- Gambling Legally (In Public or Online) in Singapore
- The Offence of Human Trafficking in Singapore and Its Penalties
- Penalties for Committing Theft in Singapore
- Committing Robbery in Singapore: What are the Penalties?
- Penalties for Dishonest Misappropriation of Property in Singapore
- Vandalism Laws: Penalties for Damaging Property in Singapore
- Criminal Trespass in Singapore: What Happens If You’re Caught?
- Penalties for Littering and Killer Litter Offences in Singapore
- Charged with a Traffic Offence in Singapore: What to Do
- DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
- What Happens If You’re Caught Speeding in Singapore?
- Road Rage: What is It and How are Offenders Sentenced in Singapore
- Penalties for Dangerous Driving for Singapore Drivers
- Fatal Traffic Accidents: Are Drivers Always Punished?
- Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
- Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?