Rise of cybercrime 'still a big challenge'

The rise of cybercrime remains an "enormously big challenge" for law enforcement agencies in Singapore and around the world due to the borderless nature of the Internet, said President Tony Tan Keng Yam yesterday.

Perpetrators can work from locations outside the country to target Singaporeans, resulting in greater difficulty in bringing the culprits to justice, added Dr Tan, who was speaking on the sidelines of his inaugural visit to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

His comments echoed points raised by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee at the Committee of Supply debate earlier this month, when he pointed to a "clear uptrend" in cybercrime, with the total number of online cheating cases doubling from 2014 to last year.

Said Dr Tan: "Singapore has done well. We compare favourably with other cities in the world in containing crime, but it does not mean we do not have challenges."

The threat of terrorism remains an ongoing concern for the Singapore Police Force too, he added.

Dr Tan first toured the Forensics Division Training Lab, where he learnt how ultraviolet light can be used to search for evidence in a crime scene. Later, he proceeded to the Technology Crime Forensics Lab. He was accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin and Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck.

At the end of his visit, Dr Tan stressed the importance of the community in ensuring domestic security. He said: "We have to be vigilant. Everyone has a part to play to keep Singapore safe, such as by being observant."

He also thanked officers from various branches of the CID for their contributions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2016, with the headline 'Rise of cybercrime 'still a big challenge''. Print Edition | Subscribe