Press Releases

Commencement of Section 424B of the Penal Code

Published: 27 July 2023

1. Section 424B of the Penal Code will come into effect on 28 July 2023. 


2. In 2019, the Criminal Law Reform Act 2019 (CLRA) amended the Penal Code and other Acts to keep our legislation up to date with technological changes and emerging crime trends. Please refer to Annex for more background information on the Criminal Law Reform Act 2019.

3. To deal with novel and complex fraudulent schemes which may not be considered cheating offences, the CLRA introduced sections 424A and 424B of the Penal Code.[1] 

4. Sections 424A and 424B address deceptive schemes where a wrongful gain or loss was intended, but a victim is not easily identified. One such example is the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate in the UK (or LIBOR, a rate often used as a benchmark for other financial products), via false submissions by banks, where it was difficult to identify victims of the fraud. Offences under sections 424A and 424B take reference from the UK’s Fraud Act, and are punishable with imprisonment of up to 20 years, or a fine, or both. 

5. Unlike existing cheating offences, sections 424A and 424B do not require the Prosecution to establish that a victim had been deceived. An offence is made out once it is shown that the offender had, fraudulently or dishonestly, carried out any of the acts listed in sections 424A and 424B of the Penal Code.[2] However, similar to existing cheating offences, sections 424A and 424B do not criminalise cases of genuine business mistakes or contractual disputes where there is no fraud or dishonesty.

6. Section 424A, which deals with fraud not connected with contracts for goods or services, had come into effect earlier, on 1 January 2020. 

Section 424B to Come Into Effect, After Remediation Measures to Allow Individuals to Obtain Recourse for Smaller Losses Put in Place

7. For Section 424B, which deals with fraud in connection with contracts for goods and services, it was explained in Parliament in May 2019 that the Government was looking at ways to allow private persons to obtain recourse for more common cases involving smaller losses. As many such transactions take place on online platforms, the Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams (IMCS)[3] focused on working with e-commerce platforms to provide for loss remediation channels. To this end, IMCS launched the E-Commerce Marketplace Transaction Safety Ratings (TSR) in 2022.[4] 

8. In addition, the Technical Reference 76, which is the national standard for e-commerce transactions developed by a multi-stakeholder working group appointed by the Singapore Standards Council, overseen by Enterprise Singapore, was revised in 2022 to include a set of guidelines on measures which e-retailers and e-marketplaces can put in place to secure e-commerce transactions and better protect their consumers. The guidelines include recommendations for e-marketplaces to put in place measures to seek recourse in the event of a dispute. 

9. Most major e-commerce platforms have put in place remediation measures to allow individuals to obtain recourse for smaller losses. In addition, individuals can also seek recourse for losses through the Small Claims Tribunal, the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre, and the Singapore Mediation Centre. We are therefore ready to bring Section 424B into force.

[1] The UK Libor-fixing scandal came to light in 2012. It involved bankers at several major financial institutions colluding with each other to manipulate the London Interbank Offered rate (LIBOR), causing financial contracts to be mispriced throughout the world. However, given the complexity of the scheme, it was difficult to prove whether victims had relied upon the bankers’ fraudulent representations.

[2] Under sections 424A and 424B of the Penal Code, a person is liable for an offence if he had, fraudulently or dishonestly, (a) made a false representation, (b) failed to disclose to another person information which he was under a legal duty to disclose; or (c) abuses, whether by act or omission, a position which he occupies in which he was expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person.

[3] The Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams (IMCS) is made up of multiple agencies across the Whole-of-Government, to drive and coordinate inter-agency efforts to combat scams.

[4] The TSR encourages consumers to transact only on e-commerce platforms that have put in place sufficient measures to protect consumers from scams, including on-platform loss remediation channels. On-platform loss remediation channels make it easier and faster for individuals to obtain recourse. To-date, most main e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon, Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee and Carousell, have introduced such loss remediation channels. Please refer to this link for more information on the TSR. 


1. Press Release on Introduction of Criminal Law Reform Bill
2. Opening Speech of Second Reading of Criminal Law Reform Bill
3. Wrap-Up Speech of Second Reading of Criminal Law Reform Bill
4. Commencement of Amendments to the Penal Code and Other Legislation on 1 January 2020