Is lying to the police or authorities a punishable offence in Singapore?

Last updated on April 20, 2018

Lying, or more precisely, furnishing false information to the authorities, such as the police, is a criminal offence punishable by fine and imprisonment.

Pursuant to section 177 of the Penal Code, when a person is legally bound to provide information to the authorities but deliberately offers false information instead, he may become liable for a fine, imprisonment or both. Lying about your particulars to immigration officers, for instance, could land you in hot soup. Furthermore, if the information pertains to criminal activities, the punishment may become more severe, such as when a potential witness lies to the police with regards to criminal loanshark activity.

In addition, providing false information with the intent to cause a public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person is also a criminal offence pursuant to section 182 of the Penal Code. For instance, falsely making a complaint against a police officer, such as accusing him of misconduct, in an attempt to sabotage his career may fall within the definition of this offence.

More seriously, lying to the police with the intention of assisting a criminal in escaping conviction, or tampering and destroying evidence with such a similar intention, is a serious offence pursuant to section 201 of the Penal Code.

Finally, pursuant to section 203 of the Penal Code, whoever “knowing or having reason to believe that an offence has been committed, gives any information respecting that offence which he knows or believes to be false” shall be liable to a jail term of up to 2 years, or a fine, or both.

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