The Straits Times
Published on Nov 14, 2012
Teo Chee Hean, Crime

Mandatory death penalty has worked to deter crime: DPM Teo


THE mandatory death penalty has been effective in deterring and curbing crime, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean in Parliament on Wednesday.

He cited figures showing the sharp fall in kidnapping and firearms offences since the mandatory death sentence was introduced for these crimes. From 38 kidnapping offences in 1959, the number fell to one case after the death penalty was introduced in 1961 and has remained low, said DPM Teo, who is also the Home Affairs Minister.

Similarly, the number of firearms offences fell from 174 in 1973 to 97 in 1975 after the death penalty was introduced in 1973. There has been a steady drop since then and there have been no firearms offences since 2007, added DPM Teo.

For drug offences, DPM Teo said the mandatory death penalty's deterrent effect can be seen as traffickers deliberately try to keep the amounts they carry below the threshold for capital punishment. He pointed out that the "war is ongoing" and he referred MPs to approaches other jurisdictions have used to fight drugs, and the corresponding outcomes.