Expatriates working in Singapore need to know about the laws and legislation of Singapore. Ignorance of the law is no defence.
Singapore is considered a safe city with a low crime rate. It is safe to travel by public transport late at night.
Expatriates should be careful not to commit any of the following:
- Drink driving;
- Using hand phone while driving;
- Careless / reckless driving;
- Unauthorised consumption and/or possession of drugs;
- Underage commercial sex;
- Shoplifting / Theft / Computer Theft ;
- Cheating / Fraud / Forgery;
- Submitting False Documents.
Other offences which impose caning as a punishment include the following:
- illegal entry or overstaying your visa for over 90 days.
Serious Crimes that attract the Death Penalty
- trafficking, manufacturing, importing or exporting more than 15 g of heroin, 30 g of morphine, 30 g of cocaine, 500 g of cannabis, 200 g of cannabis resin and 1.2 kg of opium,
- Unauthorised possession of firearm.
- What are the consequences of being charged or investigated?When one is charged or investigated for an offence by the police, that means time is spent taking urgent leave to attend interviews at the police station. The first arrest can also lead to a 48 hours detention at the police station and having no access to counsel or to make a telephone call, one puts their job at risk for their ‘mysterious disappearance’. When one is released on bail, the expat has to find a Singapore Permanent Resident to sign the police bail bond. Your passport will be retained by the police pending the outcome of the investigations.
- Will it affect my working Visa?The moment one is charged, the visa can be affected if the employment pass is due to expire. What happens then is a “white pass” can issued which has to be renewed on a weekly or fortnightly basis. It also sees frequent visits to the police station and the ICA, to have the visa renewed.
- Will I be allowed to travel if my passport is detained?You can travel overseas, however, the police has to release the passport to you with bail conditions being imposed. Such as, a Singapore Citizen standing as a bailor for you; increased in the current police bail amount to at least 2 fold the amount; and supplying your travel details.
- When should I inform my employer of my circumstances;There’s no need or requirement to inform your Employers of your circumstances, until and unless you are going to be charged in court and you are likely to plead guilty to the offence. In such event, you can also ask your Employer to provide a testimonial letter to be attached to the Plea of Mitigation.
- Am I in breach of any of my employment contract terms and conditions?This will depend on your employment contract. Generally, most employment contracts talk about misconduct, and if you committed a serious crime, this can result in an instant dismissal and your work visa shall be affected.
- When do I engage a lawyer?It is good practice to engage a lawyer the soonest possible, as you ought to know your rights and with your lawyer assisting you to write a letter of representation to the police / prosecutors can likely to result in the police considering to give a stern warning (for less serious offences) rather than hauling you to court.