It’s not every day that you read about dramatic events that sound more like the plot of an action thriller. But this one might just take the cake!
A 61-year-old Singapore man was arrested by Singapore Police for claiming that his son was kidnapped by a stranger.
Police received the information from the man about the alleged kidnapping case, on July 10. He informed the cops that the kidnapping took place at Punggol, where a man forcibly snatched his 8-year-old son away and pulled the boy into a car before driving off.
Fake Kidnapping Or Actual Incident? Police Uncovers The Truth
Image courtesy: iStock
SPF was quick to act on the complaint. Officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division arrived at the scene and questioned the man and the other witnesses. During the probe, officers discovered there were several inconsistencies in the complainant and the witnesses’ accounts.
After a preliminary investigation, it was found that the man’s son and the stranger who allegedly kidnapped him knew each other. Police also suspected that the young boy had willingly entered the car. So, all eyes were now on the 61-year-old man.
He was suspected of a fake kidnapping case, where he purposely provided wrong information to the cops. This was done to mislead them during the investigations.
SPF has not yet disclosed the relationship between the boy and the man who took him away in the car. But according to a report on Lianhe Zaobao, the owner of the car is the boy’s stepfather.
SPF in the press release let out a stern warning for the public. They said, “police resources could have been put to better use in dealing with real crimes and emergencies than investigating into false reports or false information.”
SPF further concluded, “Those who lodge false police reports or provide false information will face serious consequences under the law.”
An offender can be sentenced up to two years in jail, fined or even both for giving intentionally wrong information to a public servant.
In Singapore, the offence of kidnapping is provided for under the Kidnapping Act and the Penal Code. Here’s what the law says.
Singapore Kidnapping Act Vs Penal Code
The offence is made if
If the victim was abducted, wrongfully restrained or confined with the intention of demanding ransom.
In this case, the victim need not have been removed from Singapore or removed from lawful guardianship.
The victim had been removed from Singapore, or in case the victim is a minor or of unsound mind and had been removed from his/her unlawful guardianship.
Death penalty, or life imprisonment and caning
Can be held up to 10 years’ jail, and either fined or caned.
It also provides for other kidnapping-related offences. For instance, if you kidnap a victim for the purposes of murdering them, you may be punished with the death penalty, or given life imprisonment and also be caned.
Offence of Abduction
The victim was forcefully compelled or deceived into going from any place
Table credit: Singapore Legal Advice
Singapore Police also highlights the growth of staged kidnapping on the island. The purpose of this kidnapping is to extract money from individuals by informing them that their loved ones are being held hostage or have been kidnapped. Whereas in reality, the supposed victim has not been kidnapped.
The government doesn’t take this crime lightly either.
If you are involved in a fake kidnapping or force someone to make payments towards the false demand for a ransom, you may have committed the crime of cheating. For this crime, you will be punished with imprisonment for up to 3 years in jail or even fined.
Image courtesy: SPF screenshot
Police have alerted the locals about the kidnapping scam that is quite rampant on the island. Here’s the modus operandi: You might just receive a message claiming that your loved ones have been kidnapped.
The SMSes also ask people for money as ransom in return for their loved one’s safety.
If you receive such an SMS, here’s what you need to do:
Don’t panic: Easier said than done, we get it. But it is exactly what you need to do when and if you receive such a message. Remain calm and do not reply to the SMS. Block and report the number as spam as soon as possible.
Contact your loved ones: Don’t believe the message immediately. Contact your loved ones immediately to confirm their safety.
Don’t transfer money: As instructed in the SMS, don’t transfer any money.
It is also important to teach your kids to be safe. For instance, teach them to memorise important information including your name, residential address and phone number.
It is also a good idea to teach team about Stranger Danger. Empower them with basic skills they’ll need to action if they are separated from you.
Stay alert and keep your eyes open to avert any such untoward incidents!