OWL Magazine Korea

Fine City, Singapore: The Land of Fines

Singapore is often referred to as “Fine City,” a term that carries a dual meaning. On one hand, it signifies that the city is well-maintained and pleasant. On the other hand, it hints at the strict enforcement of fines.

So, when we say “Fine City, Singapore,” it implies both a clean and pleasant environment as well as the presence of strict penalties.

“Fine City” truly encapsulates Singapore. When you visit, you’ll notice that the entire city is remarkably clean, and you’ll feel a sense of security due to the stable law enforcement. However, behind this lies a robust legal framework.

“Why is Law Enforcement so Strict in Singapore?”

There are reasons behind Singapore’s rigorous law enforcement. When Singapore gained independence, it faced a challenging environment and lawlessness after being expelled from Malaysia. To establish a strong foundation for the nation, Singapore emphasized strict law enforcement and aimed to create a safe country to retain skilled foreign talent.

As a result of these efforts, Singapore has become a country where various fines exist. With a diverse population of different races and ethnicities living together, there was a need to preemptively address any factors that could threaten safety.

“Singapore’s Strict Laws Featured in Unusual Summit”

Singapore’s stringent law enforcement has even been featured in a program called “Unusual Summit.”

“Emphasis on Public Decency in Singapore”

Singapore places strong emphasis on maintaining basic order in public places. This strict law enforcement has resulted in a clean country. However, it has also led to the existence of various fines. In Singapore, you can’t even chew gum in public places, let alone consume food or drink in the subway. Nonetheless, thanks to these efforts, Singapore holds the title of being one of the cleanest countries in the world.

However, there are times when some may find the law enforcement to be a bit excessive. There are situations where seemingly absurd fines are imposed, such as being fined for undressing in one’s own home or for not flushing the toilet after use.

Here are the fines in English:

  • Jaywalking: A fine of S$50 is imposed if caught jaywalking within 50 meters of a pedestrian crossing.
  • Littering: A first-time offense results in a fine of S$1,000. Subsequent offenses incur S$2,000 fine plus public cleaning.
  • Spitting Gum: Disposing of chewing gum in public places carries a fine of S$500.
  • Spitting: In public places, spitting incurs a first-time fine of S$1,000. A second offense results in a fine of S$2,000.
  • Toilet: Failing to flush after use may result in a first-time fine of S$150. Subsequent offenses may incur fines starting from S$1,000.
  • Smoking: Violating the smoking ban law leads to a first-time fine of S$1,000.

The list I provided above outlines some of the well-known strict laws in Singapore.

Despite the strictness of law enforcement, as long as you adhere to public decency, you’ll hardly have to worry about fines. So, when visiting Singapore, it’s important to be especially mindful of public decorum. Remember, if you observe basic manners, you won’t have much to worry about in terms of fines.