What Can I Do to Protect Myself in Self-Defence in Singapore?

Last updated on January 15, 2018

Featured image for the "What Can I Do to Protect Myself in Self-Defence in Singapore?" article. It features a woman defending herself from a snatch thief.

Self defence is known as “private defence” in Singapore. Private defence is a form of legal defence that may have the effect of absolving a person of legal liability if that person hurt or killed another person in order to defend himself.

Private defence is written law, being covered under sections 96 to 106 of the Singapore Penal Code. It includes the defence of your life and body from physical harm such as hurt and rape. It also includes the right to defend your property, either movable (like a car) or immovable (like a house), from theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass.

Private defence also includes the right to defend another person or his property from harm.

However, a few requirements have to be satisfied for the defence to succeed in court. For example, there is no right of private defence if there are opportunities to seek police protection.

There is generally also no right of private defence against a public servant carrying out his duties. For instance, private defence cannot be used to justify attacking a police officer who is trying to subdue you.

In contrast, there is a right of private defence against an insane person, if that person had been trying to attack you.

Section 99(4) of the Penal Code also states that a person cannot inflict more harm than is necessary for self-defence. If it is clear that the attacker has been repelled or defeated, it is not reasonable for you to continue attacking him in the name of private defence.

In extreme cases, a person can kill an attacker in private defence, but only under the following circumstances.  Sections 100 and 103 of the Penal Code states that private defence can extend to voluntarily causing death if:

  1. You were assaulted and had reasonably apprehended death or grievous hurt if you had not taken action to defend yourself
  2. You were being raped or kidnapped
  3. You were being robbed
  4. Your house had been broken into at night
  5. You had been under the threat of mischief by fire
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