Organised Crime Act to take effect from June 1

SINGAPORE - A law that gives law enforcement agencies a boost in disrupting organised crime will kick in from June 1.

Passed last year, the Organised Crime Act (OCA) strengthens the ability of agencies such as the Singapore Police Force and Central Narcotics Bureau to disrupt activities of organised criminal groups, said the Home Affairs Ministry of Home Affairs in a statement on Wednesday (May 25).

The act will criminalise activities related to such groups,including being a member of one, including instructing a person to commit offences for such a group, helping one, and recruiting members.

Those who commit serious crimes like drug trafficking and corruption as part of such a group will also be subjected to enhanced penalties.

The act will also allow the courts to issue preventive orders to restrict the activities of such groups.

These orders are: the Organised Crime Prevention Order (OCPO), the Financial Reporting Order (FRO) and the Disqualification Order.

The Organised Crime Prevention Order and Financial Reporting Order can be issued upon a criminal conviction, or through a civil proceeding without a criminal conviction.

Only the High Court can issue these Orders via civil proceedings.

Under the act, the benefits that a person derived from organised crime can be confiscated under a civil proceeding in the High Court if the public prosecutor can prove the person carried out organised crime activity.

This non-conviction based civil confiscation regime complements the existing conviction-based regime to confiscate benefits from drug trafficking or serious offences.

The act will also allow the authorities to tackle organised crime at all levels - from the highest echelons of organised crime leaders who mastermind or finance the activities, to members of such groups who carry out these criminal activities.