Published: 07 February 2024
1. The Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill and the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Offences (Confiscation of Benefits) (Amendment) Bill were passed by Parliament on 9 May 2023.
2. The following new offences will come into effect on 8 February 2024:
(a) Rash and negligent money laundering;
(b) Assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct in certain circumstances;
(c) Disclosing a user’s own Singpass credentials to facilitate an offence; and
(d) Obtaining or supplying another person’s Singpass credentials to facilitate an offence.
New Offences of Rash and Negligent Money Laundering
3. The amendments to the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Offences (Confiscation of Benefits) Act will make it an offence if a person acted rashly by carrying out a transaction to deal with property for someone else while he had some suspicions that he could be dealing with benefits of crime, but did not make further enquiries to address those suspicions. A person who acted negligently by continuing with a transaction despite obvious red flags noticeable by any reasonable person can also be held liable for an offence. This applies to persons acting as directors of companies and operating corporate accounts.
4. In addition, a person can be held liable for assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct in the following circumstances:
(a) The value of the property he dealt with is disproportionate to his known sources of income; or
(b) He allowed another person(s) to access, operate, or control his payment account and failed to take reasonable steps to find out the purpose of this arrangement; or
(c) He received or transferred money in his payment account and failed to take reasonable steps to find out the source or destination of the money; or
(d) He received money from or transferred money to another person(s), and failed to take reasonable steps to find out that person’s identity and physical location.
5. An individual will not be liable for this offence if he can prove that he did not know and had no reason to believe that the property dealt with through his account was criminal proceeds.
6. Owners as well as operators of payment accounts, including personal and corporate bank accounts, must use their accounts responsibly. They will be held accountable for any transaction that takes place through their accounts. In considering requests by others to use their payment accounts to receive and transfer monies, owners must always conduct checks on the other party, to verify the other party’s identity and to understand the origin or destination of the monies.
7. The offence of rash money laundering carries a maximum fine of up to $250,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both. The offence of negligent money laundering carries a fine of up to $150,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both. The offence of assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct in certain circumstances carries a maximum fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both.
New Offences to Prevent Singpass Abuse
Disclosing a User’s Own Singpass Credentials to Facilitate an Offence
8. It will be an offence if a Singpass user:
(a) Discloses his Singpass password or access codes, or provides any other means of access to his Singpass account, and
(b) He did so, knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the purpose of the disclosure is to commit or facilitate the commission of an offence.
9. The Singpass user is presumed, until the contrary is proved, to have fulfilled condition (b) if he disclosed his Singpass credentials in any of the following situations:
(c) Where he received any gain for disclosing his Singpass credentials;
(d) Where he disclosed his credentials knowing that the disclosure is likely to cause wrongful loss to any person; or
(e) Where he disclosed his credentials without taking reasonable steps to find out the identity and physical location of the person to whom he disclosed his credentials.
10. This offence is not intended to criminalise situations for those who share their Singpass credentials for lawful purposes, such as seniors who need the help of their family members to make Singpass transactions. It is also not intended to penalise persons who were genuinely tricked into giving up their Singpass credentials.
Obtaining or Dealing in Singpass Credentials to Facilitate Criminal Activities
11. It is an offence for an individual to obtain, retain, supply, offer to supply, transmit or make available, the Singpass credentials of another person.
12. It is not an offence if an individual obtained or retained another person’s Singpass credentials for a legitimate purpose. It is also not an offence if an individual supplied, offered to supply, transmit or made available the Singpass credentials of another person for a legitimate purpose, and the individual did not know or have reason to believe that those credentials will be or were likely to be used to commit an offence.
13. The offence of disclosing an individual’s own Singpass credentials will carry a maximum fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both.
14. The offence of obtaining or dealing in Singpass credentials will carry a maximum penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both, for a first offence. For a second or subsequent offence, the maximum penalty will be a fine of up to $20,000 or imprisonment of up to five years, or both.
15. These amendments are part of the Government’s ongoing efforts to fight scams and will empower the Police to act more effectively against money mules and those who abuse Singpass to perpetrate scams and other crimes.
16. Our Singpass accounts and payment accounts, including bank accounts, are for our own use only. You may be held criminally liable if your Singpass or payment accounts are used by others for criminal activities.
17. Everyone has a role to play in the fight against scams and must exercise care and responsibility in the use of our payment accounts and Singpass.
18. For more information on the new provisions under Computer Misuse Act and Corruption, Drug Trafficking, and Other Serious Offences (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, members of the public can visit www.police.gov.sg/advisories/crime/CDSA-and-CMA-Bill-Amendments.