Organised Crimes: Penalties/Orders Syndicates Face in Singapore

Last updated on August 28, 2019

What is an Organised Crime Group (OCG)?

Under the Organised Crime Act (OCA), an OCG is a group of at least 3 individuals whose purpose is to obtain financial or material benefit from the commission of a serious offence, or an act outside Singapore that, if it occurred in Singapore, would constitute a serious offence. Simply put, OCGs commit criminal offences for profit.

Examples of serious offences that OCGs engage in include the provision of illegal goods (such as drugs, firearms and bombs) and services (such as assassination, human trafficking, prostitution, kidnapping and extortion).

They may also engage in theft, assault, forgery and fraud, loan-sharking at high interest rates and illegal gambling. In 2018, between $9.7 million and $20.2 million was collected by one of the largest organised crime syndicates in Singapore for illegal gambling activities over a period of 9 years since 2007.

Organised Crime Offences and Their Penalties in Singapore

Enhanced punishments for OCG members who commit offences

The OCA provides enhanced punishments for OCG members who commit offences as compared to non-OCG members as follows:

If the penalty for the original offence includes this: … then the maximum penalty for the same offence for OCG members will be:
Fine Double the maximum fine
Less than 4 years’ imprisonment Maximum imprisonment term for the original offence + 2 years
4 years’ imprisonment or more (excluding life imprisonment) Maximum imprisonment term for the original offence + 5 years

For example, if a non-OCG member engages in unsolicited moneylending, the maximum punishment he would face would be a fine of up to $20,000 or imprisonment of up to 6 months or both.

However, if another individual commits this same offence as part of an OCG, he would face a fine of up to $40,000 or imprisonment of up to 2.5 years or both.

OCG-specific offences and penalties

Apart from committing offences as part of an OCG, OCG members can also be found guilty of committing OCG-specific offences under the OCA. Examples of such offences and their penalties are as follows:

Provision of OCA Offence Penalty
Section 5 Being a member of a local OCG Fine of up to $100,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years or both.
Section 6 Recruiting members for an OCG (whether the new member is within or outside Singapore) Fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years or both.

For non-individuals:

Fine of up to $500,000.

Where the member being recruited is a vulnerable person, or below 21 years of age:

Fine of up to $350,000, or imprisonment for up to 7 years or both.

For non-individuals:

Fine of up to $700,000.

Section 8 Procuring (within or outside of Singapore) expenditure or use of property to aid and support the activities of an OCG Fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.

For non-individuals: Fine of up to $500,000.

Section 9 Using property to aid or support the activities of an OCG Fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.

For non-individuals: Fine of up to $500,000.

Section 10 Allowing an OCG to use your premises, when you have reason to believe that the person or group is an OCG, and are allowing such use of your premises to support or aid the commission of the offences by the OCG. Fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.

For non-individuals: Fine of up to $500,000.

Section 11 Receiving, retaining, concealing or disposing of property for an OCG when you know or have reason to believe that the property is:

  1. Illegally obtained by an OCG; or
  2. Used by an OCG to commit or facilitate the commission of an offence.
Fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.

For non-individuals: Fine of up to $500,000.

Section 12 Facilitating any of the above offences for an OCG Fine of up to $100,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.

For non-individuals:

Fine of up to $200,000.

Section 7 Instructing any person to commit any of the above offences for an OCG If the instruction had not been carried out successfully:

  • Fined twice the amount; or
  • Imprisoned for half the maximum term,

of the penalty for the instructed offence.

If the penalty for the instructed offence is death or life imprisonment, then up to 10 years of imprisonment. But if hurt is also caused to any person, up to 20 years of imprisonment instead.

If the instruction had been carried out successfully:

  • Fined up to 4 times the amount penalty; or
  • Imprisoned for up to 4 or 10 years in addition to the maximum imprisonment term (where the original penalty is less than 4 years’ imprisonment, or 4 years and more, respectively),

for the instructed offence.

How does a court determine who is considered a member of an OCG?

The OCA contains a non-exhaustive list of criteria that the court may consider when deciding whether a person should be considered an OCG member. These criteria include:

  • The person’s involvement in meetings with other known members of the group;
  • Whether that person has recruited or attempted to recruit any other person into the group;
  • Whether that person has been arrested more than once in the company of known members of the group for any serious offence that is consistent with the group’s usual criminal activity;
  • Whether that person adopts the style of dress, hand signs, language or tattoos used by known members of the group.

Orders Issued Against OCGs

Organised Crime Prevention Order (OCPO)

An OCPO prevents, restricts or disrupts any involvement of a person in a serious offence associated with an OCG.

The effect of this order is to place restrictions/prohibitions on the person’s activities, such as their:

  • Financial, property or business dealings
  • Means of communication or association (including the persons with whom the person communicates or associates)
  • Premises to which the person has access
  • Use of any premises or items
  • Travel within or outside of Singapore

Financial Reporting Orders (FRO)

An FRO compels an individual to declare all particulars related to their financial affairs. This allows authorities to monitor the financial activities of members of OCGs and disrupt the operations of OCGs.

If this order is issued by the court, the person against whom the order is issued must make a financial report for the specified period, outlining particulars of their financial affairs.

They must also include any specified financial documents as required by the court order.

When can OCPOs and FROs be issued?

An OCPO and FRO is issued when a court is satisfied that an individual or entity has been involved in an offence specified in the table above, or any serious offence associated with the OCG.

They may also be made if the court has reasonable grounds to believe that the order would protect the public, by preventing, disrupting or restricting any involvement by any person in the commission of the same offences.

However, an OCPO or FRO cannot be made against individuals younger than 16 years old.

What is the duration of an OCPO and FRO?

An OCPO and FRO may last for a maximum of 5 years.

However, where a person has been convicted of an offence specified in the table above, an FRO may last for a period equal to the imprisonment sentence imposed, in addition to the 5 years.

Failure to comply with an OCPO and FRO

Failure to comply with an OCPO or FRO without reasonable excuse is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to 3 years or both. Non-individuals are liable for fines of up to $20,000.

Providing false or misleading information when complying with an OCPO or FRO, without any reasonable excuse, is also punishable by the same penalties.

Disqualification order

Where an individual commits an offence outlined in the table above, or contravenes an OCPO or FRO, the court may make a disqualification order against them.

Under this order, the individual may not act as a director of a company or foreign company, and they must not take part in the management of the company.

This order will take effect for up to 5 years. In the case that the individual is imprisoned, the order will take effect for 5 years from the date of release.

Failure to comply with the disqualification order is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to 2 years or both.

Confiscation order

The purpose of confiscation orders is to confiscate benefits earned from criminal activities by OCGs. This is to prevent OCG members from profiting from their criminal activities and reduce the incentive for them to engage in such criminal activities.

The court will make a confiscation order if it is satisfied that a person has:

  • Carried out organised crime activity within the past 7 years; and
  • Derived benefits from the organised crime activity.

A person is presumed to have derived benefits from an organised crime activity if the court is satisfied that the person holds property or any interest in property disproportionate to their known sources of income, and if such holding cannot be adequately explained to the court.

The court is empowered to order confiscation of the financial amount that it presumes the individual has derived from organised criminal activity.

If you are a member of an OCG, you may be liable for one or more of the offences outlined in this article. You may wish to consult a criminal lawyer for legal advice on your next steps.

If you have been approached by a person whom you believe is a member of an OCG, and you are being recruited by them, you should be aware of the penalties listed above. It may be wise to report all relevant information regarding that person to the police, and not engage with them further.

If you are approached by suspected OCG members who request you to harbour/shelter them in your house, alert the police immediately. You should also not aid such persons by way of taking care of their possessions or items.

Arrest and Investigation
  1. Police Investigation Process in Singapore
  2. Arrestable and Non-Arrestable Offences in Singapore
  3. Police Arrest Procedure in Singapore
  4. Can the Public Make a Citizen's Arrest in Singapore?
  5. Is Lying to the Police or Authorities an Offence in Singapore?
  6. Surrender of Passport to the Police and How to Get It Back
  7. What to Do If You’re Being Investigated for a Criminal Offence in Singapore
  8. Can You Say No to a Lie Detector Test in Singapore? And Other FAQs
  9. What Should You Do If You Witness a Crime in Singapore?
  10. "Right to Remain Silent" to Singapore Police: Does It Exist?
  11. Extradition: What If I Flee After Committing Crime in Singapore
  12. Arrest Warrant Issued Against You in Singapore: What to Do
  13. Search Warrant: The Issuance and Execution of It in Singapore
  14. Police Custody in Singapore: What You Should Know
  1. The Essential Guide to Bail and Personal Bonds in Singapore
  1. Magistrate’s Complaints, Private Summons and Private Prosecutions in Singapore
  2. Prosecutorial Discretion in Singapore
  3. What is Private Prosecution?
  4. Compounding or Composition of Offences in Singapore
  5. Criminal Records in Singapore
  6. Plea Bargaining in Singapore: All You Need to Know
Criminal Proceedings
  1. Compensation for Crime Victims in Singapore: How to Obtain
  2. Using Your Right to Self-Defence When Attacked in Singapore
  3. Claiming Trial as an Accused
  4. Mitigation Plea: How to Plead for Leniency in Court in Singapore
  5. Pleading Guilty in Singapore: Consequences & Withdrawal of Plea
  6. Guide to Filing a Criminal Appeal in Singapore
  7. Presidential Clemency in Singapore
  8. Probation: Eligibility and Whether It Leaves a Criminal Record
  9. Reformative Training in Singapore: When Will It be Ordered?
  10. Visiting a Loved One in Prison or On Death Row in Singapore
  11. 7 Detention Orders in Singapore: When Will They be Ordered?
  12. Consequences of Receiving a Stern Warning in Singapore
  13. Are You Eligible for a Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO)?
  14. Can I Represent Myself in a Criminal Court Case in Singapore and How?
  15. Caning in Singapore: Judicial, School & Parental Corporal Punishment
  16. Criminal Motion: What is It and How to File One in Singapore
  17. Getting Parole (Early Prison Release) in Singapore
  18. Repatriation or Deportation from Singapore: How Does It Work?
  19. How Can Adult Offenders Get Probation in Singapore?
  20. Guide to Filing a Criminal Revision in Singapore
  21. Day Reporting Order: Eligibility and Offender's Obligations
  22. The Defence of Unsound Mind in Singapore: What is It?
Sexual Offences
  1. Legal Age for Sex in Singapore and Common Sexual Offences
  2. Accused of Molest: Outrage of Modesty in Singapore
  3. What Can Victims of Sexual Harassment in Singapore Do?
  4. What is the Law on Sexting in Singapore?
  5. Revenge Porn: What If Your Nudes are Leaked in Singapore?
  6. Crime of Voyeurism in Singapore (Penalties and Defences)
  7. Consent in Sexual Offences in Singapore and What Victims Can Do
  8. STDs: Can I Go to the Police If a Partner Infected Me in Singapore?
  9. Child Pornography in Singapore: Offences and Penalties
  10. Date Rape: What to Do If Your Drink Has Been Unlawfully Spiked?
Vice-Related Offences
  1. Is it illegal to visit prostitutes in Singapore?
  2. Is Watching, Downloading or Filming Porn Illegal in Singapore?
  3. Singapore's Drug Laws: Possession, Consumption and Trafficking
  4. Gambling Legally (In Public or Online) in Singapore
  5. Is Vaping Illegal in Singapore?
  6. DUI: Here are the Penalties for Drink-Driving in Singapore
  7. Legal Drinking Age and Drinking-Related Laws in Singapore
  8. Singapore's Legal Smoking Age & Common Smoking Offences
  9. The Offence of Human Trafficking in Singapore and Its Penalties
  1. Penalties for Cheating/Scamming and What Victims Can Do
White-Collar Crimes
  1. Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in Singapore: What is It?
  2. Dishonest assistance and knowing receipt - The case of David Rasif
  3. Anti-Money Laundering Laws and You
  4. All You Need to Know About Corruption in Singapore
  5. 5 Things You Need to Know about Insider Trading
Other Criminal Offences
  1. Murder vs Culpable Homicide in Singapore (and Penalties)
  2. Is Suicide Illegal in Singapore? Will I Be Punished for Trying?
  3. Is it illegal to feed stray animals in Singapore?
  4. Criminal Intimidation: Penalties for Making Threats in Singapore
  5. Penalties for Impersonating Someone and Victim Redress
  6. What are Sham Marriages and Are They Illegal in Singapore?
  7. Public Assemblies and Processions in Singapore: Police Permits and the Public Order Act
  8. Racial Enmity: Sections 298 and 298A Penal Code Explained
  9. Penalties for Unlawful Assembly and Rioting in Singapore
  10. Voluntarily Causing Hurt Penalties in Singapore (Non-Arrestable)
  11. Misbehaving in Public: 5 Things You Need to Know
  12. Is it Legal for Drivers to Carpool in Singapore?
  13. Guide to E-Scooter and PMD Laws for Singapore Riders
  14. Is Joining a Gang Illegal in Singapore?: Being Recruited and Penalties
  15. What Happens If You’re Caught Speeding in Singapore?
  16. Charged with a Traffic Offence in Singapore: What to Do
  17. Penalties for Committing Theft in Singapore
  18. Road Rage: What is It and How are Offenders Sentenced in Singapore
  19. Singapore Fake News Laws: Guide to POFMA (Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act)
  20. Laws and Penalties for Doxxing in Singapore (With Examples)
  21. Penalties for Littering and Killer Litter Offences in Singapore
  22. Organised Crimes: Penalties/Orders Syndicates Face in Singapore
  23. Singapore Animal Abuse Offences, Penalties & How to Report
  24. Penalties for Dishonest Misappropriation of Property in Singapore
  25. Here are the Penalties for Committing Forgery in Singapore
  26. Penalties for Financing Terrorist Operations in Singapore
  27. Penalties for Illegal Immigration and Overstaying in Singapore
  28. Vandalism: Penalties for Damaging Property in Singapore
  29. Kidnapping Scam: Penalties & Responding to a ‘Kidnap Call/Text'
  30. Religious Cults in Singapore: Are they Illegal? Penalties & More
  31. Committing Robbery in Singapore: What are the Penalties?
  32. Criminal Trespass in Singapore: What Happens If You’re Caught?
Certificate of Clearance
  1. How Do You Apply for a Certificate of Clearance in Singapore?