Involvement in Gangs
The most common crime committed by youths is shop theft. Youths are also involved in violent crimes such as murder, rioting, extortion and unlawful assembly.
Besides committing offences like shoplifting, extortion, etc, youths can also become involved in gangs. This can lead to serious and tragic consequences, such as becoming victims of rival gang clashes.
Most problem youths come from homes lacking in parental guidance and are usually under-achievers in schools and with low self-esteem.
Common Misperception I
I am not a gang member. I have never paid entrance fees or monthly subscription fees to join a gang. In fact, I was invited to join for free but I turned down the offer because I only wanted to associate with the gang members. As such, I have nothing to worry about!
You are regarded as a gang member as long as you know that your friends are members of the gang and you continue to join them in their gang activities. Even if you deny, your friends will still say you belong to their gang. Such gang activities are:
- Gathering at the gang's operational ground.
- Recruiting or introducing new members to the gang.
- Accompanying gang members in outings.
- Being present with gang members during:
- Staring incidents.
- Settlements talks.
- Search of rival gang members to seek revenge.
- Funeral wake and procession of gang member or his relative, etc.
Common Misperception II
I followed my friends to attend a talk to settle a dispute with rival gang members because I was curious. During the settlement talk, I stood a short distance away and did not hear what was discussed. The Police cannot arrest me because I have not committed any offence.
You will be arrested for being a member of an unlawful assembly because you were together with your gang members, had knowledge that a settlement talk was in progress and you were present at the scene. In fact, you will be arrested as long as you and your friends are together indulging in any unlawful activities. Such activities are:
- Staring incidents.
- Confronting rival gang members.
- Going out to search of rival gang members to seek revenge.
- Attending funeral wake and procession of gang member or his relative, etc
The situation becomes more serious if you or yours friends are armed with weapons.
Gangs are illegal in Singapore. According to the law, gangs are called unlawful societies. Thus, anyone involved in gang activities, is a member of an unlawful society.
Being a member of an unlawful society:
- Imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years; or
- A fine not exceeding $5,000; or both.
- Imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years; or fine;
- Or both.
- Imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years; or fine; or caning; or with any combination of such punishments.
- Imprisonment for a term which may extend to 7 years; and caning.
- Imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years; and caning.
Members of the public who are concerned that their children may be involved in gang-related activities or have any information on such activities can call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000.