5 little-known laws of Singapore

The Amusement Ride Safety Act, which came into force in 2011, when more amusement parks, such as the Universal Studios Singapore which houses the Battlestar Galatica (above), were being built here. -- ST FILE PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW
The Amusement Ride Safety Act, which came into force in 2011, when more amusement parks, such as the Universal Studios Singapore which houses the Battlestar Galatica (above), were being built here. -- ST FILE PHOTO: STEPHANIE YEOW

Amusement park rides may be fun, but their regulation is no laughing matter. In fact, there is an Amusement Ride Safety Act, which came into force in 2011, when more amusement parks, such as Wild Wild Wet and Universal Studios Singapore, were being built here.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore regulates amusement ride safety through the Act, including installation, operation, modification, maintenance and repair of amusement rides.

Before each ride is open to the public, BCA engineers work with the operator to ensure that rides comply with safety standards. BCA also conducts "mystery shopper" inspections to ensure that standards are maintained.

Minister of National Development Khaw Boon Wan announced in a blog post on Friday that the Act has been revised to ""meet new safety standards, respond to new incidents and keep pace with introduction of new rides".

Additionally, the Act will also extend to amusement rides in private clubs and private residential estates.

Here are five other little-known laws that you may not have heard of.

Naked at home

1. You may be in your own home, but that does not mean you can swan around naked. Yes, it is illegal to be naked in your own home - but with a caveat. Under Section 27A of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, Chapter 184, a person cannot be naked in a private place while being exposed to public view. This law came into effect in Feb 27, 1996.

If you are found guilty of this offence, you risk having to pay a fine not exceeding $2,000 or being sentenced to prison for a term not exceeding three months - or both.

Furthermore, if you are committing this offence, a police officer has the right to enter your home without your authorisation and use force, if necessary, to arrest you.

In August 2009, taxi driver Chua Hock Hin (right), was fined $2,600 for being naked in his own flat in clear view of his neighbours.

The next time you plan on walking around in your birthday suit at home, it might be a good idea to draw the curtains first.

Unruly dogs

2. Keep a rein on your hyperactive or overly-friendly dogs, especially if they have a tendency to run towards people or vehicles.

If it is proved to the satisfaction of a Magistrate's Court that any dog is in the habit of running at persons or at vehicles or bicycles passing along a public road, under Section 8 of the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, the owner of the enthusiastic pup may be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of $1,000.

This law was first enacted in 1989.

"Stealing" wireless access

3. "Borrowing" your neighbour's unsecured wireless Internet network is considered hacking, under Section 6(1)(a) of the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, which was enacted in 1998. But that is not the surprising part. The punishment for "piggybacking" is particularly strict. If found guilty of the offence, you could be fined a maximum of $10,000 or jailed up to three years, or both.

In November 2006, Singaporean teenager Garyl Tan Jia Luo (right) was arrested for tapping into his neighbour's wireless network.

The first person in Singapore to be convicted of this offence, he was sentenced to 18 months' probation, half of which was to be served at a boys' home and he was required to stay indoors from 10pm to 6am for the next nine months. He also had to carry out 80 hours of community service, and was banned from using the Internet for 18 months.

Given the penalties, it might be worth that trip to a Starbucks to get free Wi-Fi rather than to mooch off someone else's network.Trickster and manipulator

4. Tricking someone to think that he would be cursed or make divine beings unhappy if he did not obey you could earn you a year behind bars.

Under Section 508 of the Penal Code, it is illegal to cause or attempt to cause any person to do anything that he is not legally bound to do, or to not do anything which he is legally bound to do, by inducing that person to believe he or someone close to him will become "an object of divine displeasure" if he does not listen to you.

This law has been in place since Singapore's first Penal Code, which started in 1872.

Breath analyser tests

5. If a person is suspected to be driving while drunk, the police can conduct a breath analyser test to see if his alcohol consumption is above the limit of 35ug per 100ml of breath. If the person refuses, he can be arrested without a warrant.

But there is an exception to the law.

According to Section 71 of the Road Traffic Act, a hospital patient is not required to provide a specimen for a breath or laboratory test unless the medical practitioner in charge of his case authorises it and the specimen is provided at the hospital.

The purpose of this law, which has been in place since 1996, is to protect hospital patients. If the medical practioner finds that the breath or laboratory test would be prejudicial to the proper care and treatment of the patient, he may not authorise it.

vthor@sph.com.sg