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6 teens arrested for alleged membership to unlawful societies

The Independent logo The Independent 13/1/2021 Hana O
a close up of a man © The Independent Singapore

Singapore – Six teenagers, between the ages of 17 and 19, were arrested for suspected involvement in membership to an unlawful society, said the police on Tuesday (Jan 12).

The police disclosed having received a report on Saturday (Jan 9) concerning a group of people shouting gang slogans and gesturing gang-related hand signs at a chalet along Jalan Loyang Besar.

Bedok Police Division and Criminal Investigation Department officers responded to the alert and arrested four male teenagers at the scene, reported channelnewsasia.com.

The teenagers were apprehended for being “suspected members of an unlawful society for their alleged involvement in shouting gang slogans and gesturing gang-related hand signs at the chalet and circulating a video of their actions online,” said the police.

On Tuesday, the police arrested another two male teenagers through follow-up investigations in relation to the incident.

Police investigations are ongoing.

The group will also be investigated for alleged breaches to Covid-19 safe distancing measures.

According to the Societies Act, “Every society, not being a registered society in Singapore, shall be deemed to be an unlawful society.”

“Any person who manages or assists in the management of any unlawful society shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years.”

Under the Act, any person who is or acts as a member of an unlawful society, or attends a meeting of an unlawful society, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.

The Act also states, “Any person who prints, publishes, displays, sells or exposes for sale, or transmits through the post or who, without lawful authority or excuse, has in his possession any placard, newspaper, book, circular, pictorial representation or any other document or writing whatsoever which is issued or appears to be issued by or on behalf of or in the interests of an unlawful society shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both.

Any book, periodical, pamphlet, poster, proclamation, newspaper, letter or any other document or writing in respect of which the person is convicted shall be forfeited.”

Meanwhile, non-compliance to the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 could result in six months’ imprisonment, a fine up to S$10,000, or both.

The police reiterated they have zero tolerance towards secret society activities and will not hesitate to take action against those who choose to be associated with gangs or blatantly flaunt their gang affiliation, through social media or otherwise.

Furthermore, the police urged members of the public to avoid secret society activities and report those engaging in such unlawful activities immediately.

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