Established in 1999



Public Others Government Business Arts Community
Entertainment Lifestyle Services People Travel Internet Stuff



     FrontPage Edition: Mon 19 February 2007

Weather: Meteorological Service Singapore    High & Low Tides

Yesterday   2007   2006   2005   2004   2003   2002   2001   2000   1999

1,100 theft cases involving metals in 2006


Oral Answer to Parliamentary Question on theft of public property, 15 February 2007

Mr Seah Kian Peng:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether there has been an increase in the incidence of theft of public property such as lightning strips and metal railings and, if so, what measures are being taken to minimise them.
Assoc Prof Ho Peng Kee:
Mr. Speaker Sir,
The number of theft cases involving metals increased considerably last year.
About 1,100 such cases were reported representing an increase of 570 cases (or +110%) as compared to 2005.
This increase can be attributed to opportunistic criminals capitalising on rising metal prices by stealing various metallic items for subsequent sale as scrap metal.
Fuelled by the high demand in rapidly industrialising countries like China and India, the prices of metal is expected to rise even further in the next few years1.
Cables and wires (44%), raw materials (9%), lightning conductors (6%) and urns (5%) were among the most common items stolen in 2006. Other items include metal pipes, bars, strips, dry-riser lugs, signs and drain covers.
Of these theft cases, items made of copper (62%) accounted for the bulk, followed by those made of aluminium (13%). The remaining cases involved other types of metals, such as stainless steel, steel, brass and bronze.
This trend reflects the price increases of both aluminium and copper compared to steel2. The total value of metallic items stolen in 2006 was an estimated S$ 4 million3.
Sir, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has adopted a three-pronged strategy, i.e., enforcement, creating awareness and prevention measures, to combat this phenomenon of metal theft cases.
Towards this end, Police has stepped up enforcement efforts against both thieves and errant dealers.
Hence, last year; Police arrested a total of 200 persons for committing 150 cases of metal theft.
MHA also recently amended the Secondhand Dealers Act, introducing a more focused approach to specifically provide for the inclusion of ¡°cables and wires made of copper¡± in the Second Schedule list of secondhand goods to be covered under the Act.
Other key changes include requiring the buyer¡¯s details to be amongst details required to be submitted by the dealers to Police, and increasing penalties for greater deterrence.
In this way, we will more effectively deal with the disposal of such stolen goods by secondhand goods dealers, otherwise known as ¡°fencing¡±.
To create awareness, SPF will conduct briefings and issue crime advisories to licensed scrap yard dealers to alert them of this crime trend and the consequences if they are found to have transacted in stolen metal items.
Through public education campaigns, Police intends to solicit public assistance to act as its eyes and ears to deter such crimes.
In addition, SPF has engaged stakeholders, such as PowerGrid, HDB, Town Councils, Singapore Cable Vision and NParks, to improve their respective crime prevention measures.
As a result of this collaboration, useful measures such as the embossing of metal items with organisational identification; replacing of metal with alternative materials such as concrete; and beefing up patrols by their own personnel have been implemented.
Let me assure Members that Police will do its best to keep the metal theft situation in check. Let me also urge the public to also play a part by being more vigilant.
Some culprits are able to steal in broad daylight as witnesses assume that they are legitimate workers engaged to remove the metal items.
If Singaporeans see such suspicious activities, they should immediately call the police or town councils for verification or assistance.
1 Since early May 06, non-ferrous metal price lists are valuing copper between US$2,500 per tonne to US$3,000 per tonne - twice that in 2003. Price of aluminium has also increased significantly.

2 For 2006, aluminium was priced above US$2,500 per tonne while copper is priced between US$2,500 per tonne and US$3,000 per tonne. However, the price of steel is comparatively low at about US$220/tonne.

3 This is the total value of metal (including unknown metal types) stolen in 2006.

Source: News Release 15 Feb 2007

Important Notice

Our FrontPage Editions are a historical record of our Web site and reflect the changing of the times, and also of our Web site through time. We do not and will not update the links and stories on these FrontPages even if they have become obsolete.


If you have an event or some news to share with our readers, send the details, including picture(s), to us at 

We are now 12810 pages thick and growing.

Public Holidays CHINESE NEW YEAR is the next public holiday. It falls on 18 & 19 February 2007.