Cablegate: Singapore 2005 Incsr Report Part I -- Drug And

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Paragraph 2 contains Embassy Singapore's submission for
the 2005-2006 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
Part I - Drug and Chemical Control. Part II will be
submitted septel.

2. Begin Text:

I. Summary

The Government of Singapore (GOS) effectively enforces its
stringent counter narcotics policies through strict laws
(including the death penalty), vigorous law enforcement, and
active prevention programs. Singapore is not a producer of
precursor chemicals or narcotics, but as a major regional
financial and transportation center it is an attractive
target for money launderers and drug transshipment.
Corruption cases involving Singapore's counter narcotics and
law enforcement agencies are rare, and their officers
regularly attend U.S.-sponsored training programs (as well as
regional forums on drug control).

Singapore is experiencing a decrease in narcotics trafficking
and abuse. According to GOS statistics, the number of drug
abusers arrested decreased by 47 percent, from 1,809 in 2003
to 955 in 2004 - the lowest number recorded in 20 years.
Similarly, the number of new abusers arrested also decreased,
by 17 percent (to 604 new users) compared to 2003. Synthetic
drug abusers displaced heroin abusers as the largest group of
abusers in 2004, making up 56 percent of those arrested.
Singapore is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.

II. Status of Country

In 2005, there was no known production of illicit narcotics
or precursor chemicals in Singapore. While Singapore itself
is not a known transit point for drugs or precursor
chemicals, it is the busiest transshipment port in the world,
and the volume of cargo passing through its port makes it
likely that some illicit shipments of drugs and chemicals do
pass through Singapore.

III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005

Policy Initiatives. Singapore has continued to pursue a
strategy of demand and supply reduction for drugs. This plan
has meant that, in addition to arresting drug traffickers,
Singapore has also focused on arresting and detaining drug
abusers for treatment and rehabilitation. Singaporeans and
permanent residents are subject to random drug tests. In
addition, the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) gives the Central
Narcotics Bureau (CNB) the authority to commit all drug
abusers to drug rehabilitation centers for mandatory
treatment and rehabilitation.

Law Enforcement Efforts. According to the most recent
statistics available, arrests for drug-related offenses
registered a sharp decline of 47 percent from 1,809 in 2003
to 955 in 2004. The number of persons detained for
trafficking offenses and arrests for abuse and possession all
declined. Arrests of heroin abusers fell by 80 percent, from
567 arrests in 2003 to 111 in 2004. The predominance of
synthetic drugs is reflected in the composition of abusers
arrested in 2004. Synthetic drugs include MDMA (Ecstasy),
methamphetamine and ketamine; together they accounted for 56
percent of abusers arrested. Singapore government statistics
for 2004 show the composition of abusers by drug type is as
follows: 32 percent ketamine; 20 percent nimetazepam; 13.1
percent methamphetamine; 12.3 percent marijuana; 11.6 percent
heroine; 10.6 percent MDMA; and 0.4 percent cocaine.

In 2004, authorities executed 48 major operations during
which they dismantled 24 drug syndicates. In September 2005,
CNB made the largest ketamine seizure in Singapore history,
yielding 3.24 kilograms. CNB seized 16,235 methamphetamine
tablets ("Ya ba") in 2004, compared to 34,853 tablets seized
in 2003. CNB seized 156,922 nimetazepam tablets in 2004, the
largest amount seized since 1992 when nimetazepam became a
controlled drug.

Corruption. The CNB is charged with the enforcement of
Singapore's counter narcotics laws. The CNB and other
elements of the government are effective and Singapore is
widely recognized as one of the least corrupt countries in
the world. Neither the government nor any senior government
officials engage in, encourage or facilitate the production
or distribution of narcotics or other controlled substances,
or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions.

Agreements and Treaties. Singapore is a party to the 1988 UN
Drug convention, the 1961 UN Single convention on Narcotic
Drugs, the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention, and
the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Singapore
and the United States continue to cooperate in extradition
matters under the 1931 U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty. On
November 3, 2000, Singapore and the United States signed a
Drug Designation Agreement (DDA), strengthening existing
cooperation between the two countries on drug cases. In the
past, the lack of such a bilateral agreement had been an
occasional handicap. The agreement provides for cooperation
in asset forfeiture and sharing of proceeds in narcotics
cases; in 2002, one joint case resulted in a $1.9 million
seizure of assets in Singaporean bank accounts. The DDA has
also facilitated the exchange of banking and corporate
information on drug money laundering suspects and targets.
This includes access to bank records, testimony of witnesses,
and service of process. The DDA is the first such agreement
Singapore has undertaken with another government. Singapore
has signed mutual legal assistance agreements with Hong Kong
and ASEAN; the United States and Singapore have held
discussions on a possible bilateral Mutual Legal Assistance
Treaty (MLAT). Singapore signed the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime in December 2000.

Cultivation/Production. There was no known cultivation or
production of narcotics in Singapore in 2004 or 2005.

Drug Flow/Transit. Singapore has the busiest (in tonnage)
seaport in the world. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of the
goods handled by its port are in transit or being
transshipped, and do not enter Singapore's customs area. Due
to the extraordinary volume of cargo shipped through the
port, it is likely that some of that cargo contains illicit
materials. Singapore does not require shipping lines to
submit data on the contents of most transshipment or transit
cargo unless there is a Singapore consignee to the
transaction. The lack of such information makes enforcement
a challenge -- customs authorities rely on intelligence to
discover and interdict illegal shipments. Absent specific
information about a drug shipment, GOS officials have been
reluctant to impose tighter reporting or inspection
requirements at the port out of concern that this would
interfere with the free flow of goods and thus jeopardize
Singapore's position as the region's primary transshipment
port. However, scrutiny of goods at ports has increased. In
January 2003, Singapore's new export control law went into
effect; while the law seeks to prevent the flow of weapons of
mass destruction-related goods, the controls introduce
scrutiny on some transshipped cargo. In March 2004,
Singapore became the first Asian port to commence operations
under the U.S. Container Security Initiative (CSI), under
which U.S. Customs personnel prescreen U.S.-bound cargo.
While this initiative also is aimed at preventing WMD from
entering the United States, the increased information and
scrutiny could also aid drug interdiction efforts.

The CNB works with the DEA to closely track the import of
modest amounts of precursor chemicals for legitimate
procession and use in Singapore. CNB's precursor unit
monitors and investigates any suspected diversion of
precursors for illicit use. The CNB also monitors precursor
chemicals that are transshipped through Singapore to other
regional countries, although, as noted above, data on
transshipment and transit cargo are limited. Singapore
notifies the country of final destination before exporting
transshipped precursor chemicals.

Domestic Programs (Demand Reduction). Singapore uses a
combination of punishment and rehabilitation against
first-time drug offenders. Many first-time offenders are
given rehabilitation instead of jail time, although the
rehabilitation regime is mandatory and rigorous. The
government may detain addicts for rehabilitation up to three
years. In an effort to discourage drug use during travel
abroad, CNB officers may require urinalysis tests for
Singapore citizens and permanent residents returning from
outside the country. Those who test positive are treated as
if they consumed the illegal drug in Singapore.

Adopting the theme "Prevention: The Best Remedy," Singapore
authorities organize sporting events, concerts, plays, and
other activities to reach out to all segments of society on
drug prevention. Drug treatment centers, halfway houses, and
job placement programs exist to help addicts reintegrate into
society. At the same time, the GOS has toughened
anti-recidivist law. Three-time offenders face long
mandatory sentences and caning. Depending on the amount of
drugs carried, convicted drug traffickers are subject to the
death penalty, regardless of nationality.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs

Singapore and the United States continue to enjoy good law
enforcement cooperation. In fiscal year 2005, approximately
33 GOS law enforcement officials attended training courses at
the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Bangkok
on a variety of transnational crime topics. The GOS has
cooperated extensively, with the United States and other
countries, in drug money laundering cases, including some
sharing of recovered assets.

The Road Ahead. The United States will continue to work
closely with Singapore authorities on all narcotics
trafficking and related matters. Increased customs
cooperation under the Container Security Initiative and other
initiatives and the prospect of a broad MLAT agreement will
help further bolster law enforcement cooperation.


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