Singapore: Second Reading Of The Serious Crimes And Counter-Terrorism (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill

Last Updated: 14 January 2019
Article by Eric Chan

In November 2018, the Serious Crimes and Counter-Terrorism (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill was read for the second time and passed by the Singapore Parliament.

As a result, the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act ("CDSA") will be amended to enhance the framework for preventing money laundering, and to raise the maximum penalties for certain offences under the CDSA. Amendments to the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act ("TSOFA") will also be made to give effect to resolutions made by the United Nations, and to enhance the framework for combating terrorism financing.

The amendments to the CDSA and TSOFA are benchmarked against the practices of leading jurisdictions, such as Australia, United States, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, and aim to conform to standards set by the Financial Action Task Force ("FATF"), of which Singapore is a member.

This update outlines the key amendments that will be made to the CDSA and TSOFA.

Amendments to strengthen deterrence

To strengthen deterrence, certain penalties under the CDSA and TSOFA will be enhanced as follows:

  1. the maximum penalty under the CDSA for money laundering committed by an entity will be increased from S$1 million to S$1 million or twice the value of the property involved, whichever is higher;
  2. the maximum penalty for failing to file a Suspicious Transaction Report under the CDSA will be increased from a fine of S$20,000 to a fine of S$250,000 and/or three years' imprisonment if the offender is an individual, and to a fine of S$500,000 for corporations;
  3. the maximum fine for tipping off under the CDSA will be raised from S$30,000 to S$250,000;
  4. the maximum penalty for non-individuals who commit a terrorism financing offence under the TSOFA will be increased from S$1 million to S$1 million or twice the value of the property, financial service or financial transaction involved in the offence, whichever is higher;
  5. the maximum penalties under the TSOFA for failing to inform authorities about transactions relating to a terrorist's property or whenever one controls or possesses such property, as well as for failing to disclose to authorities information which a person knows or believes might assist in preventing a terrorism financing offence or lead to the arrest, prosecution or conviction of another person for terrorism financing, will be increased and tiered into three categories with differentiated punishments, to reflect the differing culpability of groups that might commit such offences as follows:

    1. individuals who come across the property or information in the course of their work, such as bankers. For this group, the maximum fine will be raised from S$50,000 to S$250,000, while the maximum imprisonment term remains unchanged at five years;
    2. corporations will face a maximum fine of S$1 million or twice the value of the property involved in or services rendered for terrorism financing, whichever is higher, up from a maximum fine of S$250,000; and
    3. other individuals who are non-professionals. As this group is less culpable, the penalties are unchanged at the current maximum of S$50,000 fine and/or five years' imprisonment.
  6. the maximum penalty for disclosing information that might compromise a terrorism financing investigation under the TSOFA will also be increased from a fine of S$30,000 and/or three years' imprisonment to a fine of S$250,000 and/or five years' imprisonment.

Amendments to combat organised syndicates

Under current laws, in order to secure a conviction, the prosecution must prove that money mules know the monies are linked to criminal conduct. However, this is challenging, as mules may be trained not to make admissions, to destroy or delete evidence, or to simply claim ignorance.

To combat this, a new section 47AA will be introduced in the CDSA, which will criminalise the possession or use by an accused, of property which would be suspected by a reasonable person of being benefits from criminal conduct, if the accused cannot satisfactorily explain how he came by the property. With this amendment, the courts will be able to decide, based on the circumstances of the case, whether the accused could be reasonably expected to suspect that monies are linked to criminal conduct. The maximum penalty for this new offence are a fine of S$150,000 and/or three years' imprisonment for individuals.

Other amendments to the CDSA and TSOFA

Other amendments to the CDSA and TSOFA include:

  1. making it easier for the prosecution to show under the CDSA that an act committed in a foreign country constitutes drug dealing or criminal conduct.

    Currently, prosecutors must not only prove that the overseas act amounts to a serious offence if committed in Singapore, they must also show that the overseas act amounts to an offence in the overseas jurisdiction. This requires prosecutors to obtain a certificate from the foreign government or a testimony from an expert in that foreign law to fulfil the burden of proof.

    To address this difficulty, the amendment will allow the courts to decide on the basis of evidence presented by the prosecution that an offence has, indeed, been committed in the overseas jurisdiction, without having to rely on foreign governments or experts;
  2. giving the courts greater discretion to impose heavier penalties and raising the maximum composition amount for Cross Border Cash Reporting Regime ("CBCRR") offences under the CDSA.

    By way of background, a person is currently required to declare to the authorities any sum of monies brought into or out of Singapore exceeding the prescribed amount of S$20,000. Failure to make a report constitutes a CBCRR offence.

    Amendments to the CDSA will empower the courts to make a confiscation order against a defendant convicted of a CBCRR offence on any sum beyond the prescribed amount. This means that for a person who is convicted of bringing S$100,000 into or out of Singapore without declaring it, the courts have the option to confiscate up to S$80,000.

    For the less serious CBCRR cases, authorities will have the powers to compound in lieu of prosecution, and the maximum composition amount for an offence will be raised from S$5,000 to S$20,000;
  3. enhancing the sharing of financial intelligence with financial intelligence units of overseas jurisdictions.

    In effect, the amendment will allow for the exchange of financial intelligence with more than 150 financial intelligence units from overseas jurisdictions which are members of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, thereby tripling the size of Singapore's network.

    In this regard, Singapore authorities will be able to access more valuable information, while being assured that information shared in return is not abused, through the guidelines that the Egmont Group puts in place for its members;
  4. prohibiting under the TSOFA, the financing of overseas travel of an individual to any place to provide or receive any training in facilitating or carrying out any terrorist act, when one knows or has reasonable grounds to believe that the involved property or services are used to support the individual's travel. This gives effect to Resolution 2178 (2014) of the Security Council of the United Nations and is also in line with FATF standards;
  5. making a person who abets, conspires or attempts to commit a terrorism financing offence under the TSOFA, liable to the same punishment as if the person had committed the offence under the applicable section; and
  6. protecting a person who acts reasonably in taking, or omitting to take, measures to avoid committing any terrorism financing offence under the TSOFA, from being liable in any civil proceedings arising from taking or omitting to take those measures. This is meant to give greater confidence to a person to do the right thing without fear of breaching contractual obligations.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions