When one thinks of a cruise, they associate it with just purely relaxing and having fun without having to think of problems.
This means that people usually have their guard down, which is one of the many reasons why some people may think of committing a crime on a cruise.
Recently, a 29-year-old Singaporean man by the name of Ng Kok Wai was accused of stealing a woman’s underwear on a cruise.
According to Shin Min Daily News, Ng broke into a woman’s room and stole a bra from her suitcase on the World Dream cruise on 13 Dec 2021.
He was subsequently charged with one count of housebreaking and another count of theft.
Argues that He Cannot be Tried
During the court session, Ng argued that he could not be held criminally liable for his acts by Singapore because he was on a foreign ship outside of Singapore’s waters when the incident occurred.
These arguments however were rejected by District Judge Kow Keng Siong, who said that when a crime has been committed on a cruise ship that operates out of Singapore and involves a Singapore citizen, Singapore’s criminal law must have the ability to bring justice to the victim.
Judge Kow further adds that Ng can be tried and convicted if the charges are proven, but whether or not Ng is guilty is another matter entirely.
Penal Code Does Not Apply to Situation
According to the Penal Code, it does not apply to crimes committed on a foreign ship on the high seas.
However, the prosecution thought outside the box and made use of the Merchant Shipping Act as a legal basis to prosecute Ng.
Ng, however, contested the charges, questioning which provision under the Act should be used.
In reply, the prosecution mentions that it has chosen section 180 because it extends Singapore criminal law to extraterritorial acts.
Giving his input, Judge Know said that section 178 should be applied as the applicable provision instead as it extends Singapore’s criminal law to crimes committed on foreign ships outside of Singapore.
The case has been adjourned to allow both parties to think of their next course of action moving forward.
People charged with housebreaking can face up to 10 years’ jail and a fine, while people charged with theft can be jailed for up to seven years accompanied with a fine.
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