Central Narcotics Bureau

The Central Narcotics Bureau (中央肃毒局) or CNB is a department under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) tasked to combat drug trafficking and distribution and is responsible for coordinating all matters pertaining to drug eradication in Singapore.

Central Narcotics Bureau
Biro Narkotik Pusat
மத்திய போதைப்பொருள் ஒழிப்புப் பிரிவு
MottoA Singapore without drugs, where everyone can live, work and play safely
Agency overview
Formed2 November 1971; 52 years ago (1971-11-02)
Jurisdictional structure
National agencySingapore
Operations jurisdictionSingapore
General nature
Operational structure
Elected officers responsible
  • K. Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs & Minister for Law
  • Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower & Second Minister for Home Affairs
Agency executives
  • Tee Chong Fui Sam, Director
  • Chan Liang Hua Leon, Deputy Director, Operations
  • Sng Chern Hong, Deputy Director, Policy & Administration
Parent agencyMinistry of Home Affairs

History edit

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 (MHA). 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, the Singapore Government introduced the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) 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 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.[1]

"What soft options do you have in dealing with such a deep-seated problem like drug addiction? We are tough on drugs as we are tough on crime and we are not apologetic about it. Had we not imposed the death penalty for drug trafficking, the situation would be worse. The rationale is very simple. Singapore is a small country and we cannot afford the luxury of having its citizens hooked on drugs for the rest of their lives."[2]

former Central Narcotics Bureau director Tee Tua Ba defending Singapore's zero tolerance approach to illegal drugs

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. The CNB was to be in charge of Rigorous Enforcement and Preventive Drug Education.

Functions edit

Drug enforcement edit

Legal Powers edit

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.

Raids edit

The CNB conducts regular nationwide operations to conduct checks against drug abusers and ex-drug abusers who may have relapsed. Other than island-wide operations, the CNB conducts operations targeted at specific areas where intelligence sources indicate that drug activity is taking place. The CNB officers also work in closely with officers from other Home Team agencies such as the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Preventive drug education edit

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 country as a criminal offence punishable by hanging, which is enforced under Schedule 2 of the Misuse of Drugs Act,[10][11] 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, Shanmugam Murugesu, and Nagaenthran K. Dharmalingam.

The 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.[12] Actor Jackie Chan was named in May 2015 as the first celebrity anti-drug ambassador of the country.[13]

In 2021, a short film titled Down The Rabbit Hole was created by the CNB to remind young people of the hazards of drug abuse. Actress Jasmine Sim starred as the main character and antagonist of the film, where she portrayed a drug trafficker.[14]

Personnel edit

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

Recruitment edit

All new Narcotics Officers must undergo 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 (NS) with a Physical Employment Status (PES) of A or B1, which implies that they are the medically fit. For male CNB officers, their NS liabilities will be paused as long as they are in the Bureau, making them the equivalent of regular officers in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Direct-Entry Inspector edit

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.[15]

Direct-Entry Sergeant edit

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.[16]

Equipment edit

CNB officers are issued and trained in the use of Glock 19 pistols 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 Force edit

The CNB maintains a small, specialised and covert unit, the Special Task Force (STF), which carry out high risk operations such as vehicle pursuits, conducting house raids, forced entry, and performing round-the-clock surveillance of syndicate activities since 1997.[17]

Officers must have at least two years of experience in the CNB in order to join the STF.[18] From there, officers have access to battering rams and electric cutters for forced entry with Heckler & Koch USP Compact pistols issued as their primary firearm.[19]

Organisation structure edit

The CNB is headed by a director, who is assisted by a deputy director.[20]

CNB Leadership
Appointment Officeholder
Director CNB Tee Chong Fui Sam
Deputy Director CNB CHAN Liang Hua Leon
Principal Psychologist Salina Binte Samion

Supporting the director and deputy director are the operational line and staff divisions, namely Intelligence Division, Enforcement Division, Investigation Division, Operations Division, Policy, Planning and Research Division, Corporate Services Division, Communications Division and Staff Development Division.[21]

There is also an Internal Investigations Office and Psychology Unit that provide additional staff support.

Enforcement Sector 1 covers the geographical boundaries served by the Singapore Police Force's 'A' (Central), 'E' (Tanglin), and 'G' (Bedok) divisions, as well as Marine and Airport. Enforcement Sector 2 covers the geographical boundaries served by SPF's 'F' (Ang Mo Kio), 'J' (Jurong) and 'L' (Woodlands) divisions, as well as Tuas and Woodlands Checkpoints.

CNB Divisions
Division Director
Enforcement Sector 1 DAC Ong Pang Thong
Enforcement Sector 2 AC Lim Fung Suan
Intelligence Division SUPT Tang Zhixiong Aaron
Investigation Division AC Adam B Fashe Huddin
Operations Division SUPT Ng Boon Ho Thomas
SUPT Saherly Bin Limat
Communications Division AC Sng Chern Hong
Corporate Services Division Yip Wai Meng
Policy, Planning and Research Division SUPT Ng Khai Song
Staff Development Division Delphine Lee Ping Ping

References edit

  1. ^ "The Bureau's Fight for a #DrugFreeSG" (PDF). Central Narcotics Bureau - 50th anniversary Commemorative Book.
  2. ^ "The Bureau's Fight for a #DrugFreeSG" (PDF). Central Narcotics Bureau - 50th anniversary Commemorative Book.
  3. ^ "Drug syndicate busted, 2 kg of cannabis seized". Channel News Asia. CNA. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  4. ^ "5 suspects arrested, more than S$158,000 of drugs seized in raid". Channel News Asia. CNA. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  5. ^ "1.2 kg of heroin seized, 4 arrested in CNB operations". Channel News Asia. CNA. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  6. ^ "1 kg of cannabis seized, 3 arrested". Channel News Asia. CNA. Archived from the original on 6 February 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  7. ^ "87 suspected drug offenders arrested over 6-day operation". Channel News Asia. CNA. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Drugs worth more than S$109,000 seized, four arrested". Channel News Asia. CNA. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  9. ^ "107 suspects arrested in week-long operation in Geylang". Channel News Asia. CNA. Archived from the original on 31 December 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  10. ^ Cap. 185, 2001 Rev. Ed.
  11. ^ "SECOND SCHEDULE - OFFENCES PUNISHABLE ON CONVICTION". Archived from the original on 15 April 2016. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  12. ^ Tan, Grace (29 June 2015). "Celebrating 20 Years of Community Support for the Anti-Drug Cause". Working with Grace. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  13. ^ Goh, Chiew Tong. "Jackie Chan named Singapore's first celebrity anti-drug ambassador". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  14. ^ "CNB's new short film on perils of drug trafficking targets S'pore's youth". The Straits Times. 23 May 2021. Archived from the original on 25 May 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Direct-Entry Inspector". cnb.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 25 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Direct-Entry Sergeant". cnb.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 25 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  17. ^ hermesauto (7 September 2018). "CNB's elite syndicate-busting drug unit steps out of the shadows". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 20 September 2021. Retrieved 20 September 2021.
  18. ^ Yan, Joanne. "The Anti-Narcotics Special Task Force – A higher calling (Part 1)". Ministry of Home Affairs. Archived from the original on 17 July 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  19. ^ "CNB Special Task Force: Mummy wears a bullet-proof vest". AsiaOne. 22 September 2014. Archived from the original on 12 September 2021. Retrieved 12 September 2021.
  20. ^ "About Us". cnb.gov.sg. Archived from the original on 30 December 2019. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  21. ^ "Singapore Government Directory - Ministry of Home Affairs, Central Narcotics Bureau". Archived from the original on 17 May 2021.

External links edit