What is the Offence of Rioting?
The most recent large-scale riot that occurred was the 2013 Little India riot, which involved more than 400 rioters and resulted in more than 50 injuries. While many have the misconception that rioting involves large groups of people, this need not always be the case. For example, 5 men were arrested for suspected involvement in a rioting case near Havelock Road in August 2016. What exactly constitutes “rioting” in Singapore?
While there is no offence of rioting per se, rioters will be charged under offences relating to unlawful assembly. More specifically, any member belonging to an assembly of 5 or more persons which used force or violence to achieve the common purpose of the assembly is said to be guilty of rioting. Such an assembly is known as an “unlawful assembly.”
Common Purpose among Members of an Unlawful Assembly
There has to be a common purpose among members of an unlawful assembly. Several types of common purpose are:
- To overawe by criminal force, or show of criminal force, the Legislative or Executive Government, or any public servant in the exercise of the lawful power of such public servant;
- To resist the execution of any law, or of any legal process;
- To commit any offence;
- By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to any person, to take or obtain possession of any property, or to deprive any person of the enjoyment of a right of way, or the use of water or other incorporeal right of which he is in possession or enjoyment, or to enforce any right or supposed right; or
- By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to compel any person to do what he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do what he is legally entitled to do.
The five suspects arrested in Havelock Road would have a common purpose classified under (c) which is to assault the victim by beating him up.
An example of a rioting incident involving an unlawful assembly with the common purpose classified under (d) includes the 20 youths arrested in February 2016 who, while fighting, blocked vehicles from entering Sentosa.
Rioting with a deadly weapon
If rioters are found to have used force or violence when armed with a deadly weapon is guilty of a separate charge known as “rioting, armed with a deadly weapon.” Such a deadly weapon (or weapon likely to cause death) could include a knife or even a wooden pole sharpened at the end.
Punishment for Rioting
The punishment for rioting is imprisonment of up to 7 years and possibly caning. Former construction worker Arumugam Karthik was sentenced to prison for 33 months and 3 strokes of the cane for his involvement in the Little India riots. He was among the unlawful assembly which overturned police cars and caused damage to a fire engine.
Another rioter, Moorthy Kabildev, was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment after he pled guilty to the charge of rioting. He had, for example, threw a dustbin at the windscreen of a bus at Little India.
The punishment for rioting when armed with a deadly weapon is imprisonment of up to 10 years and possibly caning.
Rioting is an Arrestable Offence
Rioting is an arrestable offence. 27 people were arrested at the scene of the Little India riot in 2013. Another example involved 7 suspects arrested in Yew Tee in October 2015. They were believed to be involved in the peddling of contraband cigarettes.
- 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
- What Can I Do to Protect Myself in Self-Defence 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
- 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)
- 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
- What is the Offence of Rioting?
- 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
- Guide to Singapore’s Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act
- Penalties for Financing Terrorist Operations in Singapore