Asia

Singapore – travel safety

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Current smart traveller advice

Australians are advised to exercise the normal level of caution as they would in their own country. This involves using common sense, staying out of dangerous situations and looking out for suspicious behaviour.

There’s also an ongoing threat of terrorism currently in Singapore. Visitors are encouraged to monitor the local news and be alert at all times.

Safety tips and advice

Scams

  • Social behaviour: Focusing on the ‘outrage of modesty’ law in Singapore, this scam has become increasingly popular and involves local women targeting drunken, male tourists. The woman will fake interest in the male and in turn, he may get a little touchy feely. Without warning, the woman will immediately accuse him of outrage of modesty. After threatening to call the police, the man is left with no choice but to pay the sum of money demanded by the woman, to avoid prosecution. Always be aware of your surroundings and behaviour when drinking.
  • Restaurants: Some eateries have been reported to charge ludicrous amounts for a meal, especially in the touristy areas. Visitors must be vigilant on prices and only pay what is fair. Another scam restaurants may try and pull off is switching cards. As a traveller pays for food with their own, valid card, they may receive what looks like the same card, wrapped in the receipt. However, the card in question, although similar in appearance, turns out to be expired and invalid, leaving the valid card with the scammers. Always double check your belongings before leaving.
  • Shopping: Fake goods are common within many holiday destinations across the world, including Singapore. Tourists may be duped in thinking that they are purchasing the real deal, only to discover that it’s fake. It is important to only buy from reputable sources and stores, and if it looks too good to be true, chances are, it is.

Crime

Singapore has one of the world’s lowest crime rates which could be a product of the strict laws in place. As with a lot of places, petty crime tends to be the most frequent of criminal acts, which could include pickpocketing, bag snatching and street thefts. Tourists must keep all valuables securely on their person at all times and be vigilant in crowded areas and on public transport to avoid falling victim.

Laws you should know as a traveller

There are many laws within Singapore, including the following:

  • Drugs: There is a strict no drugs policy in Singapore, and if an individual is found possessing, consuming or dealing, the result could be the death penalty.
  • Drinking: It’s illegal to consume alcohol in public places between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m. People caught can face high fines, such as $1,000 and even $2,000 for repeat offences.
  • Chewing gum: As mentioned earlier, there is a chewing gum ban that has been effective since 1992. This is to promote a clean environment throughout Singapore.
  • Homosexual acts: Homosexual acts between men are forbidden in Singapore and can result in imprisonment. However, this is not the case for women.
  • Outrage of modesty: As previously stated, outrage of modesty (men behaving inappropriately towards women) is a strict law and can result in fines and imprisonment.
  • Public demonstrations: If you’re travelling in a group of five or more people, you must be aware that a police permit is required for a public gathering of four or more people. Do not obstruct others or prevent their right of way as to avoid prosecution.

Information current as of March 18, 2018. Check smartraveller.gov.au for the latest updates.


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