'Death threats must be taken seriously'

Anyone who threatens to harm another person can be charged in court with criminal intimidation.

Lawyer Rajan Supramaniam from Hilborne Law said if the threat is to cause death or grievous hurt, those convicted of the offence can be jailed up to 10 years and fined.

"Threats can be made both verbally and in written form. People who are harassed can be traumatised by the threats they receive. Victims must inform the police when such threats are made against them," he said.

Member of Parliament Tin Pei Ling, who is in the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law, said death threats must be taken seriously.

"There's always a possibility that such threats will be carried out and lives may be at stake," she said. Ms Tin supports the move to enhance current legislation to better protect innocent people against online harassment.

Last November, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said new laws against harassment, whether online or in everyday life, would be tabled this year.


Citing a survey by government feedback unit Reach that showed more than eight in 10 Singapore residents favoured tougher measures to deal with harassment, both online and offline, Mr Shanmugam said, "the anonymous, borderless, viral and permanent nature of cyberspace makes harassment and bullying easier and more egregious".

Retired policeman Davy Chan, 66, said victims of threats must inform the authorities as soon as possible and keep all e-mail and letters containing the threats.

These can be used to help the police with their investigations and as evidence.

Mr Chan, a Police Gallantry Medal winner, said those who have received death threats should be more careful when going about their business.

"They should be cautious of their surroundings and avoid deserted places. They must also try their best to move around in the company of friends and family members.

"Some death threats can be made as a joke or a prank. But it's better to be safe than sorry," he said.

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