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Pet Cat | © anaa yoo / Flickr
Pet Cat | © anaa yoo / Flickr
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10 Things That Are Banned in Singapore

Picture of Sadali Mawi
Updated: 13 March 2018
Singapore is known for its strict regulations and laws in place to maintain peace and order, but you may be unaware of some of the bizarre paraphernalia and activities that are banned in the garden state. So before you light that e-cigarette, you might want to give our list a good read!

Chewing gum

One of the most well-known items banned in this list, Singapore has taken a strong stance against chewing gum since its ban in 2004. Unless it is used for medical purposes (like nicotine gum, for example), chewing gum is generally banned in Singapore. Furthermore, if you are caught selling chewing gum, you could face a penalty as high as SGD100,000.

Girl Blowing Gum
Girl Blowing Gum | © DenisenFamily / Flickr

Recreational fireworks/firecrackers

Lighting firecrackers may be an auspicious activity for some cultures, but the loud, crackling act has been banned in Singapore since 1970, when a firecracker caused a fire that killed and injured locals. Today, Singaporeans are only able to set off firecrackers during festive seasons. If you are hoping not to miss a pyrotechnic display, be sure to travel to Singapore closer to its National Day celebrations (August 9) and witness its majestic firework display as part of the celebrations.

Pull string firecracker
Pull string firecracker | © Bertram Nudlebach / Flickr

E-Cigarettes

Despite various reports of e-cigarettes being less harmful than actual cigarettes, Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority (HSA) has maintained its stance on the cigarette substitute, arguing that it could be a gateway for non-smokers to get addicted to tobacco. It has been banned in Singapore since 2011, with a penalty fine of $5,000 imposed if you are caught importing or distributing it.

Shisha

Yet another ban revolving around tobacco, Shisha (a method of smoking where flavour-infused tobacco is vaporised through a bong, or hookah) was officially banned in 2016 in Singapore. With popular eateries and lounges then forced to halt any import or sale of shisha within their premises, many reminisce about the relaxing, casual atmosphere shisha brought to popular areas like Arab Street.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mares87/5995194777/
Woman Having Shisha | © Mate Marschalko / Flickr

Public nudity (even within private premises)

This might seem slightly strange, but it is illegal for anyone to walk around both public spaces and private residential premises in the nude. If you happen to forget your towel after a nice, cold shower – make sure that your windows are closed before you spring your way to the bedroom! If you are reported by the public or caught, you can get fined or jailed for up to 3 months.

Owning or trading exotic animals

In Singapore, it is illegal for anyone to own, breed or sell exotic breeds of amphibians, lizards or reptiles without a license. The law is enforced in a bid to protect the ecosystem and Singapore’s biodiversity. While there have been plenty of reported cases of such acts in Singapore, the trade of exotic species is still rampant and lucrative, with prices of such animals going for as high as $10,000 for a clouded tiger.

Marine Iguana
Marine Iguana | © Gloria / Flickr

Taking durian onto public transportation

Love it or hate it, the durian splits opinion with many disagreeing when it comes to the spiky fruit. Some people find the stench so unbearable that it prompted the government to ban the king of fruits on all public buses and trains. How bad is the stench? While some laud it for its pleasantly sweet and creamy scent, others have described it to have a pungent, almost sulphur-like stench. Yes, the world is really divided on this one.

Gathering in groups of more than 3 people

In Singapore, it is illegal for groups of more than 3 people to assemble after 10pm in a public space. It might seem strange, but the government see this as a way to ensure that unlawful assemblies do not take place, which could disrupt the peace and stability of the nation. So the next time you are out with your friends in Singapore, make it a double date to avoid any trouble.

Purchasing alcohol after 10:30pm

This one’s a doozy – as of 2015, Singapore has banned the sale and consumption of alcohol in public spaces from 10:30pm to 7am. Unless a restaurant has applied for the relevant permits, it could be sentenced to a fine of up to SGD10,000 if caught selling alcohol during this timeframe. The ban came into effect after a riot took place at Race Course Road due to a public disorder caused by excessive drinking. However, this is a great excuse to invite your friends over and take the party inside instead!

Cats are not allowed in residential flats

Residents in Singapore living in residential flats (homes sold by the Housing Development Board) are not allowed to keep cats as pets. The housing development claims that cats are “difficult to contain within the flat” and tend to shed fur and urinate in public spaces should they roam free. Dogs however, are allowed but would require pet owners to have a license. This rule doesn’t apply to residents living in condominiums or private properties, though.