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The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is the primary drug enforcement agency in Singapore. CNB is responsible for coordinating all matters pertaining to drug eradication. Its current director is Mr. Ng Ser Song.

Central Narcotics Bureau
Biro Narkotik Pusat
Logo for Central Narcotics Bureau.jpg
MottoA Singapore without drugs, where everyone can live, work and play safely
Agency overview
Jurisdictional structure
National agencySingapore
Operations jurisdictionSingapore
General nature

Elected officers responsible
  • K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs & Minister for Law
  • Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower & Second Minister for Home Affairs
Agency executives
  • Ng Ser Song, Director
  • Sim Wai Meng, Deputy Director
Parent agencyMinistry of Home Affairs



On 19 October 1971, the Government of Singapore announced that a new and dedicated Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), would be set up within the Ministry of Home Affairs. Then-Minister for Home Affairs Wong Lin Ken said, "Such activities will be coordinated in the Central Narcotics Bureau. CNB also plans to build a capacity to educate the public in the dangers of drug abuse".

In 1973, Singapore's government introduced the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA)15 to deal with drug traffickers, pushers and addicts. The enactment of the MDA was intended to consolidate the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance 1951 (DDO) and Drugs (Prevention of Misuse) Act 1969 (DPMA), and secondly to more effectively deal with the worsening drug situation. New legislation was deemed to be necessary by then-Minister for Health and Home Affairs Chua Sian Chin in Parliament in 1973. "The Dangerous Drugs Act (i.e DDO) was enacted about 21 years ago and the controls provided therein are grossly inadequate for the 70's, with the introduction of a host of new drugs of medical value if properly used." The need was exacerbated by Singapore's geographical location and development into a trading hub. The proximity to the Golden Triangle is another oft-cited justification for tough anti-drug laws.[citation needed]

In November 1993, the "Committee to Improve the Drug Situation in Singapore" was set up to look into the drug situation and it recommended a total and integrated approach to deal with the drug problem. The four main anti-drug strategies are Preventive Drug Education, Rigorous Enforcement, Treatment and Rehabilitation for addicts, and Aftercare and Continued Rehabilitation for ex-addicts to reintegrate them into society. CNB was to be in charge of Rigorous Enforcement and Preventive Drug Education.


Drug enforcementEdit

Legal PowersEdit

All Narcotics Officers are defined as an "officer of the Bureau" under the Misuse of Drugs Act. This empowers them to enter and search any place reasonably believed to contain controlled drugs without a warrant. They may also search a person or subject persons to urine or hair tests.


CNB conducts regular nationwide operations to conduct checks against drug abusers and ex-drug abusers who may have relapsed. Other than island-wide operations, CNB conducts operations targeted at specific areas where intelligence sources indicate that drug activity is taking place. CNB officers also work in closely with officers from other Home Team agencies such as the Singapore Police Force and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Preventive drug educationEdit

The Singapore embarkation card contains a warning to visitors about the death penalty for drug trafficking. Warning signs can also be found at the Johor-Singapore Causeway and other border entries.

Drug trafficking is commonly known in the republic as a criminal offence punishable by hanging, which is enforced under Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act,[8][9] any person importing, exporting, or found in possession of more than the threshold quantities of illegal drugs can a mandatory death sentence. Examples of high-profile cases such as the capital punishment of drug traffickers Van Tuong Nguyen and Shanmugam Murugesu.

CNB's Preventive Education Unit (PEU) was formed in 1992 to focus solely on the formation and implementation of preventive drug education (PDE) programmes in Singapore. Such PDE programmes include the Anti-Drug Abuse Carnival 2015.[10] Movie star Jackie Chan was named in May 2015 as the first celebrity anti-drug ambassador of the country.[11]


CNB officers are public servants by law and are part of the Singapore Civil Service. The Director-General of CNB reports to the Permanent Secretary and to the Minister of Home Affairs.


All new Narcotics Officers must under go a period of residential training in the Home Team Academy (HTA) and pass all required tests. Potential recruits can enter either as a Direct-Entry Inspector or a Direct-Entry Sergeant. Male recruits must be physically fit (i.e. pass the IPPT). They must also have completed National Service with a Physical Employment Status of A or B1, which implies that they are the most medically fit within the male population. For male CNB officers, their National Service liabilities will be paused as long as they are in the Bureau, making them the equivalent of Regular officers in the Armed, Civil or Police forces.

Direct-Entry InspectorEdit

Potential Inspectors undergo nine months of basic training to learn various skills such as applying knowledge of criminal laws, investigation techniques, self-defence tactics and weapons handling. The nine-month training phase also includes an overseas component. There is a two-year bond which must be fulfilled lest a financial penalty be imposed.

After graduation, Direct-Entry Inspectors enter a foundation 1.5-year posting at the Enforcement Division or Investigation Division.[12]

Direct-Entry SergeantEdit

Direct-Entry Sergeants must minimally be a Higher NITEC, GCE "A" level or Polytechnic Diploma holder. They undergo six months of basic training before being posted out to various work units for on-the-job training.[13]


Like other Home Team agencies, CNB officers are issued and trained in the use of 5-shot Taurus Model 85 revolvers as a standard issue sidearm. Officers are also trained and issued with expandable batons for less than lethal self-defense options, bulletproof vests and handcuffs for restrains.

Special Task ForceEdit

CNB maintains a small, specialized and covert unit called the Special Task Force (STF) which carry out high risk operations (such as vehicle pursuits and conducting house raids), forced entry and performing round-the-clock surveillance of syndicate activities since 1997.[14] Officers must have at least two years of experience in CNB to join the STF.[15] Members have access to battering rams and electric cutters for forced entry and Heckler & Koch USP pistols as their primary firearm.[16]


CNB announced that an error was found in the statistical computation of drug abuser arrest statistics for the period 2008 to 2010 after migrating to a new IT system. The amended and updated data reflects higher numbers of drug abusers for that period. CNB stressed that the mistake in the computation did not affect its enforcement efforts.[17]

In 2012, the then-chief of the CNB Ng Boon Gay was suspended accruing from internal investigations involving corrupt practice.[18]


  1. ^ "Drug syndicate busted, 2kg of cannabis seized". Channel News Asia. CNA. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  2. ^ "5 suspects arrested, more than S$158,000 of drugs seized in raid". Channel News Asia. CNA. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  3. ^ "1.2kg of heroin seized, 4 arrested in CNB operations". Channel News Asia. CNA. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  4. ^ "1 kg of cannabis seized, 3 arrested". Channel News Asia. CNA. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  5. ^ "87 suspected drug offenders arrested over 6-day operation". Channel News Asia. CNA. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  6. ^ "Drugs worth more than S$109,000 seized, four arrested". Channel News Asia. CNA. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  7. ^ "107 suspects arrested in week-long operation in Geylang". Channel News Asia. CNA. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  8. ^ Cap. 185, 2001 Rev. Ed.
  10. ^ Tan, Grace. "Celebrating 20 Years Of Community Support For The Anti-Drug Cause". Working With Grace. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  11. ^ Goh, Chiew Tong. "Jackie Chan named Singapore's first celebrity anti-drug ambassador". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Direct-Entry Inspector". Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Direct-Entry Sergeant". Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Yan, Joanne. "The Anti-Narcotics Special Task Force – A higher calling (Part 1)". Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "CNB reports error in drug arrests". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  18. ^ "SCDF & CNB chiefs suspended amid CPIB probe". Channel NewsAsia. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.

External linksEdit