Shoplifting and Theft

What is the difference?

Shoplifting is a form of theft, and there is little difference legally. Both offences are charged under Section 379 of the Penal Code, and are defined in Section 378 (below):

Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.

What are movable properties?

Things that can be stolen include petty theft such as the belongings of others to shop stock, but can also include live animals (that the perpetrator caused to move e.g. by making dogs follow someone with bait), and large heavy objects (e.g. that move after removing an obstacle in its way).

Finding an object on the ground, and not in the possession of another person, is not grounds for theft. You will not be charged for picking up abandoned objects from the street (e.g. finding a $50 note or a ring on the floor).

However you will be charged with theft for accepting a gift you know to be someone else’s property (e.g. being offered the personal possessions of a woman, as a gift from her husband who you know has not been authorized to take her things – accepting the gift is theft). For further information, please contact your Singapore criminal lawyer.


Shoplifters and thieves may face prison for up to 3 years, or a fine, or both.

Should you have any questions or need legal advice or representation, kindly contact our criminal lawyers at Gloria James-Civetta & Co on 6337-0469 for a free consultation, or email to


Things That Can Get You in Trouble under Singapore Criminal Law

Singapore is a place which receives quite a big number of visitors each year who come over to this part of the world for reasons varying from business to tourism. Singapore is not only a major economic hub but also one of the top tourist attractions in South Asia. While Singapore is a modern and developed country with values that resonate with those of the western world, visitors should be aware of some important Singapore criminal law. This will help them have a convenient and relaxing experience during their stay.

For starters, people who are planning their first visit to Singapore should know what type of things are not allowed over here, which means that these items will be either confiscated at the airport or will get you into trouble.

Drugs are a strict no and the Singapore criminal law takes tough view on those who are found bringing drugs into the country. There are provisions for the death penalty for traffickers in the Singapore criminal law. Additionally, you can even be punished if you are found to be under the influence of drugs at the time of your arrival, even if the drugs were taken in another country. Random urine tests can be done at the airport which is why travellers are advised to be careful. Read more…

Take fast action in choosing your Singapore criminal lawyer.

In Singapore, an arrest can be made without a warrant when police suspect a man of committing a serious offence.  Offences can include causing serious hurt, rape, robbery, theft, or drug consumption. A warrant may be made to allow police to make an arrest for a normally non-arrestable offence. For example, when a police report is made about a case of “voluntarily causing hurt”, police will usually conduct investigations first before making any arrest.


Police can use reasonable force to make an arrest. Handcuffs may be used. If arrested, you have the right to ask the police officer for his identification and the reason for the arrest. On arrest, the accused may be searched. Women must be searched by women officer.


At the police station the law allows the accused to consult a lawyer while under police custody, within a reasonable time. Family members may also be contacted. Police can detain the accused for 48 hours at most, but can obtain a Magistrate’s order if they wish to extend the custody to continue with investigations. In Court the officer must tell the Judge the reason/s why he wants to detain you further. The Judge will consider the reason/s given and then decide whether you are to be further detained.


You may be released and free to go on a personal promise or be put on police bail to make sure you go back to the station or attend Court when told to do so. The accused has the right to remain silent, however, an adverse inference may be drawn and guilt may be inferred if the accused remains silent and does not state his defence.


You may be charged in Court only after investigations have been carried out. It is best to seek the advice of a criminal lawyer in Singapore; your defences Lawyers will inform you of your rights and help you make an informative decision in regards to your pleadings. When only the Best Defence Lawyers will do, please take fast action in choosing your Singapore criminal lawyer.