Travel tips: 16 odd things that are illegal in Singapore

The first-time penalty for the selling of gum can be as high as $US100,000 or a prison sentence of up to two years.

The first-time penalty for the selling of gum can be as high as $US100,000 or a prison sentence of up to two years.

Knowing the local laws of a country can save you from getting fined or arrested.

In Singapore, feeding pigeons will cost you US$500 (NZ$763), walking in the nude at home is illegal, and selling gum could land you two years in jail.

We've put together a list of 16 things you might be surprised to find are illegal in the country, from singing offensive songs to spitting.

1. Selling gum

According to Singapore Statutes Online, the first-time penalty for the selling of gum can be as high as $US100,000 or a prison sentence of up to two years.

Penalties are subject to rise with each conviction, but certain chewing gums that have medical benefits will be allowed.

2. Annoying someone with a musical instrument

Singapore's statutes state that playing an instrument in a public place in "a manner as to cause or be likely to cause annoyance to any person lawfully using a public road or in any public place shall be guilty of an offence" that includes a fine of up to US$1000.


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3. Flying a kite that interferes with public traffic

You can get a fine of up to US$5000 if you happen to be flying a kite or "playing any game" that gets in the way of traffic in any public road.

4. Singing

If you're caught singing or uttering songs that have either obscene lyrics or obscene "ballads" in any public place, you'll face a punishment of imprisonment for up to three months, a fine, or even both.

5. Spitting

Spitting isn't the classiest act, but do it in any public place in Singapore — including coffee shops, markets, eating houses, school houses, theatres, public buildings, omnibuses, or public roads — and you'll be slapped with a fine of up to US$1000.

6. Distribution of "obscene" materials

The distribution of any materials deemed "obscene" is prohibited in Singapore. Any violation of this — whether it is photographs, a DVD, books, or figures — can get you up to three months in jail, a fine, or both.

7. Connecting to another user's Wi-Fi

Singapore's Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act defines using another person's Wi-Fi network as hacking. If you're caught doing the deed, you can be fined a whopping $US10,000, face up to three years in jail, or both.

8. Forgetting to flush the toilet

While flushing a public toilet is common courtesy, in Singapore, there is an actual law against it. If you're caught leaving without flushing the toilet, you're looking at a fine of around US$150.

9. Walking in the nude at home

Wandering around your house nude with any open curtains can land you a fine of US$2000, imprisonment for three months, or both. Both being nude in public and being nude in a private place where you are exposed to the public are considered public nuisances.

10. Feeding pigeons

You might not think it's a big deal to toss your leftover sandwich bread to pigeons, but think twice when you're in Singapore because feeding the birds here will cost you US$500.

11. Urinating in a public elevator

In Singapore, some public elevators come equipped with Urine Detection Devices that set off an alarm and close the doors when any odour or urine is detected until the police arrive.

12. Littering

You shouldn't litter in any country and it isn't uncommon for littering to be against the law, but in Singapore, you'll find yourself paying a US$1000 fine for it.

13. Graffiti

In Singapore, vandalism can get you both arrested and caned. Singapore's vandalism laws first shocked the media in 1994, after an American teenager received a caning as punishment for destroying cars and public property. Earlier this year, two men visiting the country also faced prison time and caning for painting graffiti on a public train.

14. Taking drugs before you enter the country

Penalties for drug possession in Singapore range from fines as high as US$20,000 to 10 years in prison. In certain cases, if the amount of the drug is high enough, the punishment can even be a death penalty. Singapore officials have the right to conduct anonymous drug tests without a warrant, so any drugs taken before you enter the country can still put you at risk.

15. Same-sex relations

Attempts were made last year to change the Singaporean laws which forbid two members of the same gender from being able to have sexual relations, but unfortunately the regulation still stands. The punishment for gay sex in Singapore is a two-year jail term.

16. Jaywalking

In Singapore, jaywalking is defined as crossing the road within 50 metres  of a crossing zone. Jaywalkers can receive a US$20 fine on the spot, a fine of up to US$1000, or three months of jail time. The punishment doubles to a fine of up to US$2000 and six months in jail if you're caught jaywalking twice.

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