SINGAPORE - Police investigations are ongoing after a foetus was found at Pasir Ris Park last Saturday night.
The police said on Tuesday that they received a call on Christmas Eve at 10.13pm that a foetus was found at the beach near BBQ Pit 21.
Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao reported that a 10-year-old found the foetus under a concrete slab.
The boy, who was camping with his family, alerted his mother who called the police.
A witness told Lianhe Zaobao that about 20 police officers in seven or eight police cars arrived and cordoned off the area.
They questioned witnesses and searched the beach area until about 4am on Sunday, reported the Chinese daily.
It is an offence in Singapore to secretly bury and dispose of a body of a child to intentionally conceal the birth, whether the child dies before or after birth.
If found guilty, an offender can be jailed for up to two years, fined or both.
The police request anyone with information to call their hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness
All information will be kept strictly confidential.
Dr Roland Chieng, a gynaecologist and founding director of Virtus Fertility Centre, said the term foetus, as used in the police statement, is vague.
“This means that we do not know if the foetus was alive or not when it was discarded. It also does not tell us whether the foetus was born prematurely or at full term.”
Dr Chieng added that a foetus is considered a baby after birth.
The term foetus does not indicate if it is alive or not, whereas the term stillborn indicates the baby died before or during delivery.
In January 2020, two cleaners were clearing bags of rubbish from a chute bin in Bedok North when they found a newborn boy in a bloody bag.
The baby was alive and paramedics later said he was in stable condition with no visible injuries.
Highlighting the above case, lawyer Mohamed Fazal Abd Hamid of IRB Law, said: “It is therefore important that individuals and/or couples do not take the law into their own hands in cases of unwanted pregnancy.”
Urging such individuals to seek help from the relevant organisations, he added: “Once they obtain the necessary information from these services, they can then consider their available options and make an informed decision without breaching the law.”
Mr Azri Imran Tan, a lawyer specialising in criminal law at IRB Law, said it is also an offence to commit an intentional act of destroying “the life of a child capable of being born alive” before it has an existence independent of its mother.
“Materially, for the purposes of this crime, a woman who was pregnant for greater than 28 weeks is evidence she was pregnant with a child ‘capable of being born alive’,” he added.
The law also criminalises an intentional act which causes the child to die after its birth, subject to abortion exceptions or life-saving measures in respect of the mother, said Mr Tan.
This offence is punishable with a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine, or both.
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and need help, you can call the following agencies for help:
This non-profit agency helps pregnant teenagers.
2. Safe Place
This charity helps pregnant women in distress.
3. Pregnancy Crisis & Support
This service helps women facing an unplanned pregnancy.