CASES REPORTED TO POLICE ON PRANK CALLS DIRECTING ATTENTION TO INNOCENT PERSONS’ ADDRESSES AND PROPOSAL TO REVIEW LAWS TO DEAL WITH SWATTING

Murali Pillai
2 min readFeb 7, 2024

Recently, I have been noting the increase in “swatting” cases in several other countries . This involves prank calls to emergency services, maliciously directing them to someone’s address to harass the occupants. I filed a question with the Minister for Home Affairs to check if our legislative framework will be able to effectively deal with such cases. I also advocated, if found necessary, the reviewing our laws to address the aggravating harassment element in these acts, ensuring those responsible are appropriately dealt with. My parliamentary question and Minister Shanmugam’s response are set out below.

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Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Home Affairs (a) for each of the past three years, what is the number of swatting cases that have been reported to the Police on prank calls to emergency services to direct attention at a particular address with a view to harass the occupant or a person who has a connection with the property at the address; and (b) whether, having regard to the additional aggravating harassment element in such conduct, there is a need to update the laws to deal with persons engaged in swatting.

Mr K Shanmugam: The Police does not track reports of ‘swatting’ cases.

Our laws are adequate to deal with persons engaged in swatting. Depending on the facts of a case, a person who engages in swatting may be charged under section 14D of the Miscellaneous Offence (Public Order and Nuisance) Act for communicating a message that he knows to be false. This person may also be charged under section 268A of the Penal Code for communicating false information of a harmful thing, or section 182 of the Penal Code for communicating false information with the intent to cause a public servant to use lawful power to the injury or annoyance of another person. Upon conviction for any of these offences, the person may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.

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Murali Pillai

Member of Parliament, Bukit Batok SMC, Advisor to Bukit Batok SMC GROs.