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?
A person found guilty of abetting suicide (i.e. aiding another in attempting suicide) will be punished with a fine and also a jail term of up to 10 years, pursuant to section 306 of the Penal Code. This is especially so if such an abettor is motivated by malicious intentions.
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
- 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 an 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
- What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
- Do You Have a "Right to Remain Silent" to the Police in Singapore?
- Extradition: What if You Flee after Committing Crime in Singapore?
- Warrant of Arrest: What to Do If It is Issued Against You in Singapore
- Search Warrant: The Issuance and Execution of It in Singapore
- Criminal Compensation in Singapore
- Exercising Your Right to Self-Defence When Attacked in Singapore
- Claiming Trial as an Accused
- Mitigation Plea
- Pleading Guilty in Singapore: Consequences & Withdrawal of Plea
- Guide to Filing a Criminal Appeal in Singapore
- Presidential Clemency in Singapore
- Probation: Eligibility and Whether It Leaves a Criminal Record
- Reformative Training in Singapore: When will it be Ordered?
- Visiting a Loved One in Prison or On Death Row in Singapore
- 7 Detention Orders in Singapore and When Will They be Ordered?
- Consequences of Receiving a Stern Warning in Singapore
- Are You Eligible for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?
- Can I Represent Myself in a Criminal Court Case in Singapore and How?
- Caning in Singapore: Judicial, School & Parental Corporal Punishment
- Criminal Motion: What is It and How to File One in Singapore
- Getting Parole (Early Prison Release) in Singapore
- Repatriation or Deportation from Singapore: How Does It Work?
- How Can Adult Offenders Get Probation in Singapore?
- Legal Age for Sex in Singapore and Common Sexual Offences
- 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)
- Consent in Sexual Offences in Singapore and What Victims Can Do
- Is it illegal to visit prostitutes in Singapore?
- Is Watching, Downloading or Filming Porn Illegal in Singapore?
- Singapore's Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking
- When Can You Legally Gamble (In Public or Online) in Singapore?
- Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
- DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
- Legal Drinking Age in Singapore and Other Drinking-Related Laws
- Singapore's Legal Smoking Age and Common Smoking Offences
- The Offence of Human Trafficking in Singapore and Its Penalties
- Murder vs Culpable Homicide in Singapore: What's the Difference?
- Is Suicide Illegal in Singapore? Will I Be Punished for Trying?
- Is it illegal to feed stray animals in Singapore?
- Criminal Intimidation: Penalties for Making Threats 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
- Penalties for Unlawful Assembly and Rioting in Singapore
- Voluntarily Causing Hurt Penalties in Singapore (Non-Arrestable)
- Misbehaving in Public: 5 Things You Need to Know
- Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?
- Complete Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
- Is Joining a Gang Illegal in Singapore?: Being Recruited and Penalties
- What Happens If You’re Caught Speeding in Singapore?
- Charged with a Traffic Offence in Singapore: What to Do
- Penalties for Committing Theft in Singapore
- Road Rage: What is It and How are Offenders Sentenced in Singapore
- Singapore Fake News Laws: Guide to POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act)
- Laws and Penalties for Doxxing in Singapore (With Examples)
- Littering and Killer Litter Offences: Here are the Penalties in Singapore
- Organised Crimes: Penalties/Orders Syndicates Face in Singapore
- Animal Cruelty in Singapore: Offences, Penalties & How to Report
- Penalties for Dishonest Misappropriation of Property in Singapore
- Penalties for Financing Terrorist Operations in Singapore
- Penalties for Illegal Immigration and Overstaying in Singapore