Singapore arrested 41 people this year for taking drugs outside the country

Singapore authorities arrested 41 citizens between January and August of this year at various checkpoints for drug use outside the country, the Central Narcotics Bureau said Saturday.

The Bureau, in a statement, said that most of those detained were later sent to rehabilitation centers as they had no criminal history or had any other charges pending against them.

However, the number is lower than before the Covid-19 pandemic, as 132 similar arrests were made in 2019.

The Bureau has attributed this decline to the greater restrictions and controls that still affect the tourism sector in the region.

However, Singapore’s anti-drug policies – under which drug-trafficking crimes can result in a death sentence – have once again come to the fore after a case concerning its Olympic champion, Joseph Schooling, in August.

Schooling, swimming champion in the 100-meter butterfly competition in the 2016 Rio Olympics, was suspended from competing after having admitted to having consumed marijuana in May, while in Vietnam to take part in the Southeast Asian Games.

According to Singaporean law, its citizens or permanent residents who use drugs abroad can face the same punishment as in case of having consumed drugs within the country.

A first offense may entail sentences of between one and ten years in prison, although most detainees – often during checks at points of entry to the country – are sent to rehabilitation if there are no other charges against them, according to the Narcotics Bureau.

Singapore has one of the most draconian anti-drug policies on the planet, with death penalty for trafficking as much as 15 grams of heroin and 500 grams of marijuana. EFE


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