Prevent Crime

Youth Against Gangs


Definition of gang

Under the Societies Act, Chapter 311, a society includes any club, company, partnership or association of 10 or more persons, whatever its nature or object. A society is deemed to be unlawful if it has not been registered with the Registry of Societies.

A triad society or secret society, commonly referred to as gang, is therefore deemed to be an unlawful society and is liable to be dealt with under the Societies Act.

Types of gangs

Gangs in Singapore are generally categorised into traditional gangs and street gangs. Traditional gangs are those that exist mainly for economic gains. Because of this objective, members will minimise confrontations and keep a low profile so that they would not come into the authority's attention unnecessarily. The street gangs, on the other hand, are formed loosely by youths and they generally do not abide by any code of ethics. Presently, the street gangs are the ones that created most of the law and order problems in Singapore. Youths who join gangs tend to have problems communicating with their parents, low self-esteem and lack a sense of purpose in life. As a result, they tend to hang out together at void decks, street soccer courts, basketball courts, games arcades and LAN games centres, seeking acceptance and recognition from each other. These youths are easily impressionable and are therefore vulnerable to be recruited by gang members who befriended them. Street gangs in general are characterised by:
  1. Loosely formed gangs with fluid membership
  2. No links with traditional gangs but adopt their names for recognition and credibility
  3. Existence without any specific aim
  4. Younger membership and students
  5. Involvement in fights over staring, passing of remarks, accidental contact, boy/girl relationships or even for fun.

Though street gangs are not as organised as the traditional gangs, the threats posed from such gangs are equally detrimental to the peace and order of Singapore. Due to their immaturity, members of street gangs resort to violence at the slightest provocation without thinking of the consequences of their actions.

Reasons for joining gangs

Studies have shown that youths join gangs to fulfil their social, emotional and psychological needs such as:
  1. Companionship
  2. Peer pressure
  3. Sense of inferiority
  4. Sense of identity/belonging
  5. Protection
  6. Curiosity/excitement
  7. Revenge

Gangs offer a false sense of these needs. By associating with a gang or unwittingly participating in their illegal activities, you may cross the line and break the law.

You are deemed to be a gang member if you are implicated by your fellow gang members to be one of them. You may also be regarded as a member of a gang if there is evidence suggesting that you have the knowledge that your friends are gang members and you continue associating with them in their gang activities. Gang activities include :
  1. Gathering at gang's operational grounds or haunts
  2. Recruiting or introducing new members to join the gang
  3. Joining gang members for unlawful assembly (e.g settlement talks, funeral wakes or other gang functions as directed by gang members), fights and/or to commit crimes etc.
  4. Shouting of gang slogans
Last Updated on 05 October 2016