Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliament Question on Harsher Penalties for Causing Public Nuisance and Victimising Vulnerable Persons by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law ​

Published: 04 July 2017


Er Dr Lee Bee Wah: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the Ministry will consider reviewing the penalties for causing public nuisance and introduce heftier punishments for those who victimise vulnerable persons such as seniors, children and disabled persons; and (b) whether the Ministry will raise the fines for public nuisance offences and include community service as part of the punishment.




1. Public nuisance offences typically involve acts that cause danger or annoyance to the public, obstruction to traffic in a public place, or disturbance of the public peace. Examples include intoxicated persons shouting vulgarities in public to the annoyance of the public, or minor scuffles. These acts may not necessarily have specific victims, but cause public nuisance more generally. Public nuisance carries a maximum penalty of $1,000 fine.


2. In instances where hurt is caused or criminal force is used, the Penal Code prescribes harsher punishments. These are more serious offences, and imprisonment terms and community orders can be imposed. Where there are vulnerable victims such as children and the elderly, our courts will take this into consideration in the sentencing of offenders.


3. There is therefore no need to review the penalties for public nuisance. Depending on the circumstances of each case, offenders who commit more serious acts can be subjected to harsher punishments under different offences. The offenders can also be subjected to community orders where appropriate.


Law and order