Intellectual Property Singapore March 2015 Client Alert October 2015 For further information please contact Andy Leck +65 6434 2525 firstname.lastname@example.org Lim Ren Jun +65 6434 2721 email@example.com Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow 8 Marina Boulevard #05-01 Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 1 Singapore 018981 www.bakermckenzie.com New Bill to Strengthen Enforcement Against Organised Crime The Organised Crime Bill (the "Bill") was introduced in Parliament on 13 July 2015, and passed on 17 August 2015. Under the Bill, an organised criminal group ("OCG") is defined as a group of three or more persons, with an objective of obtaining material or financial benefits from the facilitation or commission of any serious offence. The list of applicable serious offences is found in the Schedule to the Bill. It includes, amongst others, the offences of counterfeiting under the Copyright Act (Cap. 63) and Trade Marks Act (Cap. 332). The Bill will have extra-territorial coverage, meaning that it has bite beyond the shores of Singapore. Persons covered by the Bill include those physically in Singapore who are involved in OCG-related activities; and those who are not physically present in Singapore, but who are involved in OCG-related activities that result in harm in Singapore. The key provisions of the Bill include: Criminalisation of OCG-related activities - Offences under the Bill include becoming a member of an OCG; recruiting members to an OCG; instructing a person to commit an offence for an OCG; and providing aid to commit an offence for an OCG. These provisions will capture organised crime at all levels, from the masterminds to the members of OCGs who carry out the commission of offences. The penalties vary according to the offence committed. For instance, being a member of an OCG attracts a fine of up to S$100,000 (about USD 69,800) and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years, while a person who instructs the commission of an offence for an OCG may be subject to enhanced penalties of the underlying offence. Preventive Orders to constrain OCG-related activities - Three Preventive Orders are provided for under the Bill: o Organised Crime Prevention Order, which restricts an individual's activities, whether or not he is convicted, to prevent, restrict or disrupt any involvement of the person in OCG-related offences; o Financial Reporting Order, which requires individuals involved in OCGs to furnish financial reports, whether or not he is convicted; and o Disqualification Order, which prevents individuals from acting as company directors or from taking part in the management of a company, on a conviction basis. ©2015 Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow. All rights reserved. Baker & McKenzie.Wong & Leow is a member of Baker & McKenzie International, a Swiss Verein with member law firms around the world. In accordance with the common terminology used in professional service organizations, reference to a “partner” means a person who is a partner, or equivalent, in such a law firm. Similarly, reference to an “office” means an office of any such law firm. This may qualify as “Attorney Advertising” requiring notice in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome The Organised Crime Prevention Order and Financial Reporting Order are subject to important safeguards. For example, applications for such orders made on a non-conviction basis must be heard by the High Court. Civil confiscation regime - A non-conviction based regime similar to the conviction-based regime under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (Cap. 65A) will be introduced. This will allow a person's benefits from OCG-related activities to be confiscated, if it is proven on a balance of probabilities that the person has carried out such activities. Greater powers for law enforcement agencies - Law enforcement agencies such as the Singapore Police Force and Central Narcotics Bureau will have enhanced investigative powers under the Bill. This includes the power to obtain information from the Comptroller of Income Tax and the Comptroller of Goods and Services Tax. Comments Counterfeiting is one of the OCG-related activities that the Bill targets. The Bill allows for stronger measures to be taken against counterfeiting syndicates, even those located outside of Singapore, as long as their activities affect Singapore. All prosecutions under the Bill would have to be instituted by the Public Prosecutor. Although brand owners do not have any new private rights of action under the Bill, the expanded powers of law enforcement agencies and criminalisation of OCG-related counterfeiting activities would still be useful for brand owners who, apart from or in addition to civil actions for counterfeiting, may lodge a police report so that criminal action may be taken against counterfeiting syndicates. The Bill may be accessed here.