You can only carry a few types of knives legally in Singapore. These knives are permissible items, so you don’t need any license or permit to possess or carry these knives. But unlawful use of these knives is illegal under the law.
The Corrosive and Explosive Substances and Offensive Weapons Act 1958 bans the possession of offensive and scheduled weapons in Singapore. Offensive and scheduled weapons are described in Section 2 and Second Schedule under the act.
If you possess or carry any of the weapons mentioned in the law unlawfully, you will be punished with cane strokes and imprisonment.
As understanding the statutes can be confusing for general people, we looked at all the details of Singapore knife laws.
Once we break down all the statutes and give you a comprehensive list of illegal weapons, it will be much easier for you to abide by the law. Let’s begin.
Knife laws in Singapore have clear indications about what knife is legal or illegal. Check the highlights before getting into the details.
- Statewide Preemption: No statewide preemption.
- Concealed Carry: You can’t carry a concealed weapon in Singapore.
- Schools: Section 6 under the Offensive Weapons Act prohibits carrying offensive weapons in schools or any other public places.
- Critical Dimensions: The offense of carrying offensive or scheduled weapons doesn’t depend on the dimension of the weapon.
- Punishments: Minimum two years of imprisonment and maximum life imprisonment.
Weapons are divided into three categories under Singapore law. The first category is permissible items that don’t need any permit or license. But the second category is controlled items, and it needs a permit or license.
The third category, prohibited items, isn’t legal to carry or possess. Here is a list of weapons in the second and third categories.
- Flick knives
- Gravity or butterfly knives
- Wasp knives
- Throwing knives
- Ninja star or shuriken
- Catapult or slingshot
- Chain whip
Carrying an offensive or a scheduled weapon can be a different crime than manufacturing or trading such a weapon. Here is a detailed overview.
A. Illegality in Certain Areas
Carrying illegal weapons on public roads or places is a violation of Section 6 under the Offensive Weapons Act. And anyone consorting with the convicted person will also be charged under Section 8 of the act.
B. Illegality in Local Governments
The above statute will be applicable in this case as well. So, unlawfully carrying weapons in the area of local governments can bring the same punishment.
C. Illegality Based on Concealed and Open Knives
Concealed carry is prohibited under Singapore law. The Police Licensing and Regulatory Department prohibit carrying offensive or scheduled weapons concealed. Plus, you can’t hide an offensive weapon inside other objects, such as combs, walking canes, belts, etc.
And you can’t carry a knife in car in Singapore because it will be considered possessing weapons.
D. Illegality of Carrying, Possession, Selling, Manufacturing, Importing, Trading
The items in the first category mentioned above can be imported or carried without any license or permit. But items in the second category need a license to import, export, or possess.
Manufacturing, trading or lending schedules weapons is an offense under Section 7 of the Offensive Weapons Act.
E. Illegality to the Degree of Significance, Such as the Impact on Interstate Commerce
As there are no separate states or provinces in Singapore, this doesn’t apply here.
Punishments can vary depending on the offense. Below is a list of punishments for violating the Offensive Weapons Act.
- For unlawful use of offensive or scheduled weapons, the punishment is life imprisonment with at least six cane strokes.
- If you carry offensive or scheduled weapons or consort with a person doing the offense, both will be punished with up to three years of imprisonment and a minimum of six cane strokes.
- Manufacturing, trading or lending scheduled weapons can lead to five years of imprisonment for the first time. Subsequent offenses can increase imprisonment up to eight years.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, an average of 150 cases of knife-related crimes are reported in Singapore per year.
Among the incidents, 36% happen in residential areas, and 3% happen in educational institutions. A large number of incidents also occur in public places.
In March 2022, Singapore Police Force (SPF) shot a man dead for not complying with the orders to drop a knife. Police arrested another man for wielding a sword on public roads.
Unless you are carrying a knife for unlawful use, Singapore Police Licensing and Regulatory Department permit carrying a few knives. But the condition is you need to carry these knives for specific purposes.
For example, you can carry a survival knife only when you are in a survival situation or camping somewhere. Similarly, diving knives should only be used while diving.
You can’t walk with a hunting knives in the parking lot of a shopping mall and say you are carrying the knife with lawful purposes. Here is a list of permissible knives under the law.
- Hunting knives
- Survival knives
- Diving knives
You might wonder what size knife is legal to carry in Singapore. There is no specific limit on the knife length under Singapore law. You can carry or possess permissible items for lawful use.
There is a common misconception that knives longer than 10 cm can’t be carried in Singapore. But Singapore law doesn’t have any such prohibitions on the length of the knife.
So, you can carry knives of any length without issues if it falls under the permissible category.
Singapore knife laws are very strict. While the prosecution is going on for any offense under the law, the accused person must prove that the weapon was being carried or possessed lawfully. So, knowing what knife is legal or illegal under Singapore law is crucial.
But finding all statutes in one place is challenging. Even if you find those statues, they are written in complex sentences.
We provided all the necessary sources so that you can check their credibility. Also, we gave a detailed explanation of each statute regarding the knife law.
You can now be aware of the offenses and punishments related to carrying or possessing knives in Singapore.