TO FIGHT online vice, such as sexual services at hotels and residences arranged by syndicates, the Ministry of Home Affairs is working to deter and detect activities through enforcement operations and even new additions to the law. From this month, it is an offence to operate or maintain a remote communication service that offers or facilitates the provision of sexual services, and those convicted can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to five years, or both. And while measures like better street lighting, more police cameras, and stepped-up patrols have maintained law and order in Geylang, more may be plying their trade behind closed doors, connecting with clients through the Internet and providing services in condominium apartments as well as shoebox units.
The challenge now, for the authorities, is thus to prevent and detect criminal groups which may be forcing or exploiting individuals.
From Geylang to the checkpoints at Tuas and Woodlands, motorists who evade tolls and other fees when entering or exiting Singapore can expect stiffer penalties. A composition sum of $50 will be introduced from next month, while repeat offenders will be fined $100, an increase from the $10 administrative fee currently levied upon those who are caught. Besides the deployment of more officers, the tougher penalties include charges for toll and fee evasion, and convicted motorists can be fined up to $1,000 or jailed up to three months.
To increase their safety, banks in Singapore have also been urged by the Monetary Authority of Singapore to put in place thorough threat assessments and adequate security measures – such as security personnel and alarm systems – after the robbery on Thursday at the Standard Chartered branch in Holland Village. A teller had handed over $30,000 to a Caucasian man, who is still at large.
In other news, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the start of work on the first 60km of the 150km-long Round Island Route green corridor, which will add to the 300km-long Park Connector Network. The overall plan is to increase cycling as a choice of commute for Singaporeans – from one and a half to between three and four per cent – with Ang Mo Kio as a car-lite test bed in the next three years. In addition to longer cycling routes or paths, the other plans include bike-sharing schemes, bike-parking at train stations and further improvements in cycling zones to keep cyclists safe.
And finally in education, 350 Singaporeans received their SkillsFuture Study Awards yesterday, and they can use the $5,000 award “to defray out-of-pocket expenses during their course of study”. Acting Education Minister Ong Ye Kung also took the opportunity to emphasise lifelong learning and the different pathways open to Singaporeans throughout their lives. Proficiency in the Chinese language – according to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was speaking at the launch of this year’s Speak Mandarin Campaign – is best built from young, with parents guiding their children to get better with practice.
Featured image from TMG file.
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