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2023 Wrapped (Part 1)

Here’s a recap of some of the Home Team’s key moments in 2023.
2023 Wrapped Part 1 01
GRAPHIC: Amber Qua

Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB)  
CNB increased its tempo in enforcement, community engagement and preventive drug education, to tackle both drug supply and demand.

CNB has started using saliva test kits at checkpoints, nightspots and roadblocks to augment drug detection capabilities during anti-drug operations since January 2023. With a short turnaround time of 10 minutes on average, saliva testing offers a quick, portable and non-invasive means of drug consumption testing on-site. In a joint nightspot operation by CNB and Singapore Police Force (SPF) from 7 to 10 September 2023, saliva test kits were deployed, and three Singaporean men and a foreign woman were arrested for suspected drug offences.

CNB 2023 Wrapped Part 1 02
Saliva test kits deployed in anti-drug operations. PHOTO: CNB

CNB officers arrested 47 suspected drug traffickers and abusers as part of CNB’s operations targeted at drug transactions conducted through chat applications in October 2023. Suspected controlled drugs with an estimated worth of $335,000 were seized, including around 5.5kg of cannabis and 286g of ‘Ice’. The cannabis and ‘Ice’ seized in the operation can feed the addiction of about 950 abusers for a week.  Since 2019, CNB has caught more than 500 drug offenders through such anti-drug operations, successfully disrupting large drug supplies distributed over chat applications like Telegram.

CNB 2023 Wrapped Part 1 03
Controlled drugs, including cannabis and ‘Ice’, seized in a CNB operation on 3 October 2023. PHOTO: CNB

CNB 2023 Wrapped Part 1 04
Reimagined arcade games like this at the DrugFreeSG Carnival let the public learn about the harmful effects of drugs. PHOTO: CNB

The DrugFreeSG Carnival was held to rally community support for a drug-free Singapore over the weekend of 24 and 25 June at Our Tampines Hub. The Carnival featured live performances and movie screenings. Members of the public also learnt about the harmful effects of drugs through reimagined arcade games. Real cannabis exhibits and a mock cannabis cultivation display were showcased to raise awareness of the dangers of cannabis.

CNB 2023 Wrapped Part 1 05

Minister of State (MOS) Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim performing with a local band at the DrugFreeSG Carnival on 24 June 2023. PHOTO: CNB

Guest-of-Honour MOS Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim performed a few songs with a local band to symbolise the joint community effort in the drug-free cause.

CNB also organised DrugFreeSG Pop-Up Booths featuring elements of the educational games and cannabis exhibits from the Carnival. The pop-up booths roved across four heartland malls from 28 June to 30 August.

CNB 2023 Wrapped Part 1 06
Marina Bay Sands, Jewel and Gardens by the Bay lit up in green and white for the DrugFreeSG Light-Up on 26 June 2023. PHOTO: CNB

In 2023, a total of 43 community partners, including 10 new partners participating for the first time, illuminated their buildings in either green or white, the colours of the Anti-Drug Ribbon, during the DrugFreeSG Light-Up on 26 June 2023. It was held to mark the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

CNB 2023 Wrapped Part 1 07
MOS Faishal at the inaugural DIH Madrasah engagement event with about 400 primary school students on 25 May 2023. PHOTO: CNB

About 400 primary school students from Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah attended the inaugural Dadah Itu Haram (DIH) Madrasah engagement series on 25 May 2023, where an anti-drug talk was given by CNB and one of the school’s religious teachers. The second event in the series was held at Madrasah Al Arabiah Islamiah on 22 September 2023. MOS Faishal spoke with more than 300 secondary school students on the harms of drug abuse and how it affects the people around them.

CNB 2023 Wrapped Part 1 08
Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean giving his keynote speech at the CNB Workplan Seminar on 3 May 2023. PHOTO: CNB

CNB released key drug-related findings from the Health and Lifestyle Survey 2022 on 3 May 2023, which Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean also touched on in his speech at CNB’s Workplan Seminar 2023. He expressed concern for the trends of drug consumption starting at an average age of 15.9 years and homes being the most common location for drug consumption, when it is supposed to be a safe place where youths have parental supervision.

Following the study, a new Inter-Ministry Committee (IMC) on Drug Prevention for Youths was announced by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, on 2 May 2023. The IMC will involve the Education, Social and Family Development, Culture, Community and Youth, Defence, Communications and Information, and Health ministries, as well as the People’s Association.

Singapore continues to review and refine its laws to keep pace with the evolving drug landscape and local trends. The Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill was passed by Parliament on 21 March 2023, introducing a new legislative framework for psychoactive substances by controlling them based on their capacity to produce a psychoactive effect, and criminalising the trafficking, manufacture, import, export, possession and consumption of such substances. The amendments also increased the penalties for possession of specified drugs, which are the drugs that pose the most harm to Singapore. A tiered framework was introduced with the maximum jail sentence set at 30 years – three times the previous maximum of 10 years’ jail for possession of these drugs.

Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA)
2023 was a year of progress for GRA. GRA continued to build on its accomplishments and set priorities since its formation on 1 August 2022.

GRA 2023 Wrapped Part 1 09
GRA’s officers at the Workplan Seminar. PHOTO: GRA

On 26 April 2023, GRA held its Workplan Seminar, marking another milestone in GRA’s journey as the national gambling regulator. With the theme “Rejuvenate. Aspire”, the event provided an opportunity for GRA to reflect on its achievements and set its priorities for the year ahead.

GRA 2023 Wrapped Part 1 10
GRA Chairman Mr Tan Tee How’s opening address during the GRA Workplan Seminar 2023 emphasised the need to harness technology. PHOTO: GRA

Chairman Mr Tan Tee How emphasised in his opening address on the need to harness technology to transform GRA's operations and enhance operational effectiveness and productivity. He also highlighted the importance of upholding public trust for GRA to discharge its renewed mission effectively.

As GRA sets its sights on the future, Chief Executive Mr Teo Chun Ching outlined the agency's priorities for Financial Year 2023: to develop GRA officers through implementing a competency framework and 360 feedback exercise, and to sustain its digital transformation to build a smart GRA. He further shared GRA’s vision indicators that showed the progress GRA has made to becoming a trusted and agile gambling regulator.

GRA’s inaugural corporate video was also launched in 2023 to showcase GRA’s commitment to its mission of protecting the people of Singapore by keeping gambling honest and free of criminal influence and minimising the harm from gambling.

Singapore Prison Service (SPS)

SPS 2023 Wrapped Part 1 11
Launch of Desistor Network. PHOTO: SPS

The Desistor Network (DN) was launched by MOS Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim together with Commissioner of Prisons, Ms Shie Yong Lee, on 15 April 2023. 

DN is a collaborative effort by SPS and community partners to support ex-offenders in their journey of reintegration into the community. By creating a strong network comprising desistors and agencies that support ex-offenders, DN leverages their combined experiences and resources to expand the range of support available to ex-offenders.  This allows more ex-offenders and desistors to journey together, within a circle of support from the community.
SPS 2023 Wrapped Part 1 12
Volunteer Case Officer Mr Andrew Cheong is a Principal Consultant at National Trade Union Congress, Ong Teng Cheong Labour Leadership Institute. PHOTO: SPS

SPS unveiled the Volunteer Case Officer (VCO) Scheme on 10 May 2023, where volunteers with a background in social services are recruited and trained to provide case management support to supervisees undergoing Community-Based Programmes. At its inception, the volunteers will work with supervisees with lower risk of re-offending. As they gain more experience and with further training, they will also support supervisees with moderate risk of re-offending.

SPS 2023 Wrapped Part 1 13
Curious City 2’s feature on SPS. PHOTO: SPS

Our dedicated Captains of Lives (COL) left an indelible impact on television and digital platforms in 2023.

For instance, they took the spotlight on 8World’s Curious City 2, sharing the intricacies of maintaining prison safety and fostering rehabilitation. SPS also had a podcast collaboration with Bluebird Bros, shedding light on the profound impact of our COL in transforming the lives of inmates.

SPS 2023 Wrapped Part 1 14
SPS’s podcast collaboration with Bluebird Bros. PHOTO: SPS

These endeavours paved the foundation for SPS to further drive engagement with the public to share our key messages and drive support for second chances.

Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG)

YRSG 2023 Wrapped Part 1 15
Collaboration with NTUC to organise engagement sessions on strengthening employment and employability support for ex-offenders. PHOTO: YRSG

YRSG collaborated with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to organise a series of engagement sessions that served as a platform for stakeholders within the support ecosystem to gain a better understanding of strengthening employment and employability support for ex-offenders, contributing to their successful reintegration. The first session on 13 January 2023 was attended by about 140 participants comprising ex-offenders, employers, aftercare partners and union representatives. The subsequent two sessions, held on 13 February 2023 and 9 March 2023, engaged a total of 50 inmates in Changi Prison Complex.


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MOU signing between YRSG and FairPrice Group. PHOTO: YRSG

On 26 April 2023, YRSG and FairPrice Group signed an MOU aimed at providing employment and training opportunities for ex-offenders in the food services, logistics and retail sectors. Additionally, NTUC FairPrice Foundation pledged $200,000 to the Yellow Ribbon Fund to assist ex-offenders to continue upskilling after their release. The supported skills upgrading pathways will be determined in consultation with the respective trade associations and employers and will include qualifications up to Diploma-level. The first tranche of funding is set to support up to 300 ex-offenders.


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Yellow Ribbon Prison Run participants braved the rain to show their support for ex-offenders and their families. PHOTO: YRSG

The Yellow Ribbon Prison Run symbolises hope and rallies community support for ex-offenders and their families. This year’s Run, held on 24 September 2023 and themed “Run Beyond 2nd Chances”, was memorable as over 6,500 participants from both local and international communities braved the rain and raised over $305,000. These funds will go towards providing rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for inmates, ex-offenders and their families.


YRSG 2023 Wrapped Part 1 18
Recognising champions of second chances at the Yellow Ribbon Appreciation and Awards Ceremony. PHOTO: YRSG

At the Yellow Ribbon Appreciation and Awards Ceremony held on 21 October 2023, 186 employers, community partners, volunteers and ex-offenders were recognised for their contributions towards championing second chances for inmates and ex-offenders. Themed “Illuminating Journeys, Overcoming Barriers”, the event celebrated the community’s success in shaping a more inclusive society and recognised individuals, organisations and community partners that have made significant contributions to the successful reintegration of ex-offenders into society.


YRSG 2023 Wrapped Part 1 19

MOU signing between ICAEW and YRF. PHOTO: YRSG

On 9 November 2023, an MOU was signed between ICAEW South-East Asia Limited and Yellow Ribbon Fund. This collaboration aims to provide professional certifications and career opportunities in the accountancy industry for the family members of inmates and ex-offenders in Singapore. Up to 15 family members of inmates and ex-offenders are projected to benefit from this collaboration over a period of three years.


YRSG 2023 Wrapped Part 1 20

MOU signing between YRSG And NYP-ACI. PHOTO: YRSG

YRSG and NYP-ACI signed an MOU on 22 November 2023 to enhance employability and employment opportunities for inmates and ex-offenders in the food services industry. Currently, NYP-ACI conducts Food and Beverage training in Changi Prison Complex, where participating inmates can attain various certifications, such as the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Higher Certificate in Food Services (Culinary Arts). Beyond providing inmates with industry-specific training in prison, this initiative offers a ‘through-train’ pathway that allows released inmates to continue their training and deepen their skills in the community. The inaugural 2.5-month work-study programme, leading to the WSQ Advanced Certificate in Food Services (Culinary Arts), commenced in September 2023 with seven trainees. Upon completion, trainees may consider pursuing the Diploma in Food Services (Culinary Arts).

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The work-study programme for ex-offenders leading to the WSQ Advanced Certificate in Food Services (Culinary Arts) commenced in September 2023 with seven trainees. PHOTO: YRSG

About 700 inmates are expected to benefit annually from the training programmes offered by NYP-ACI, both in prison and the community. Upon their release, graduates from these courses may pursue careers in the food services industry. YRSG will continue to work closely with NYP-ACI and its network of employer partners, through career fairs and job placement services, to enhance employment prospects for inmates and ex-offenders seeking to enter the food services industry.


YRSG 2023 Wrapped Part 1 22
YRSG won the Best Search Engine Optimisation (Category A) award at the Digital Services Awards 2023. PHOTO: YRSG

YRSG emerged as one of the winners of this year’s Best Search Engine Optimisation (Category A) award for YRSG’s corporate website at the Digital Services Awards 2023, which took place on 24 November 2023.

Read Part 2.
Read Part 3.

Written by

Tham Yee Lin and Amber Qua


19 December 2023

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