""waste" includes ó
(a) any substance which constitutes a scrap material or an effluent or other unwanted surplus substance arising from the application of any process; and
(b) any substance or article which requires to be disposed of as being broken, worn out, contaminated or otherwise spoiled,
and anything which is discarded or otherwise dealt with as if it were waste shall be presumed to be waste unless the contrary is proved;"
It can be argued that those tissues left on the table for a reasonable length of time isn't "waste and/or refuse" but someone's property. It's up to you to prove that "littering" actually takes place as even the foodcourt cleaners knows that it means reservation of seats.
(g) A finds a ring lying on the high road, not in the possession of any person. A by taking it commits no theft, though he may commit criminal misappropriation of property.
(h) A sees a ring belonging to Z lying on a table in Zís house. Not venturing to misappropriate the ring immediately for fear of search and detection, A hides the ring in a place where it is highly improbable that it will ever be found by Z, with the intention of taking the ring from the hiding place and selling it when the loss is forgotten. Here A, at the time of first moving the ring, commits theft. "
You missed the before and after.. in this case (h) is applied on context of misappropriating the ring, or tissue, since (by common understanding/practice of the location and situation) it is understood that was someone else property.
Just because the term "waste" is defined does not mean that it must be applied to every single noun in the Act. It only applies to those areas which use the word waste. I'm not sure you're clear about statutory interpretation.
The fact remains that Section 17 does not refer to "waste" but "any other article or thing", which would inclue tissue paper.
2. Illustrations (f) and (h)
I did not miss the before and after, you may not fully appreciate the elements required to prove theft.
I set out Section 378 again for your easy reference:
378. Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.
I only picked illustration (g) because it is relevant to this situation, where the tissue paper is left lying around with no clear indication of who is possessing it.
Illustrations (f) and (h) are situations where it is clear who the objection belongs to. (g) is one where the person taking the item does not know who the item belongs to.
Hence, you miss out on one key element to prove S378, which is "possession".
Also, it will be up to you to argue before a judge (if you are the prosecutor that is) that a packet of tissue paper, when left on a table, is still in somebody's possession. If this is the case, it can be as easily said that it belongs to no one since it was abandoned there. As is the case with disposable cups, forks, chicken bones, rice packets etc.
Last edited by vince123123; 6th October 2008 at 10:46 PM.
But as mentioned... even the foodcourt cleaners, whom are tasked to clear the tables implicitly acknowledges that those tissues are still in someone's possession. You on the other hand, being there for that limited period of time is in no position to assume that it's un-possessed.
And, unless you can also prove that you have absolutely no situational awareness, it can also be said that by moving the tissue, you intended to take dishonestly any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.
That's why I bring in (h), even if you "move" it in the rubbish bin, you have removed it from the rightful owner's possession and "not venturing to misappropriate the item immediately for fear of search and detection".
I'm not disputing the element of moving, I'm disputing the element of possession. Read my previous post again.
Besides, if the tissue takers want to be 100% safe, do the second suggested method, just leave it there, and eat your food. Return it to the person when he/she comes by, and then if they make a ruckus, call it in for littering
And by the way, I've seen cleaning aunties take the tissue and dump it into the bin along with the used plates. Hence, you theory on cleaning aunties is not indicative either.
Last edited by vince123123; 6th October 2008 at 11:45 PM.
If the cleaners disposes of the tissues, they are the right person to make that call, not you or the other patrons of the food court.
I agree that if you really want to, just eat your food, tissue or not. It's your own call to take whatever risk you are willing to.
Section 378 under Theft requires that the object must be in the taken from the possession of the owner. Do you think a tissue packet left on a table is still in the possession of the owner?
Read (h) again: "A sees a ring belonging to Z lying on a table in Zís house". It already says
1. Belonging to Z
2. On a table in Z's house.
This is clearly possession.
Are you telling me that a tissue packet is closer to a "ring belonging to Z lying on a table in Z's house" than "ring lying on the high road"? If so, then I guess we will have to disagree.
As for right to dispose, sorry, there is no provision or defence which says that cleaners removing tissue packets are not guilty of theft, but a normal person removing a tissue packet is guilty of theft. You got your own personal sense of right and wrong with what are actual laws quite mixed up.
I'm not sure if Sg laws are so squared in... but in the context of the person's property is implied just because it's in his house... it's just sounds too "square" for me to take it in such a straight forward to the letter.
So if it's the case of 1.property of Z 2.in a public place. Do Z have to prove that it's in his possession before he reports a theft?
If so, if the packet of tissue is identifiable (lets just say I put my name and number on it) can it prove that the tissue is mine and whomever finds it have to take reasonable measure to return the tissue back to me?
And can I say that by participating in this thread, you are actually aware of the situation and therefore, selectively using (g) rather then (h) to apply the case knowing full well that the root of the argument is (h), because if (g) is applied.. then there's no "argument" in the first place cuz there is no reservation in the first place.
So what happens?
Wrong again. A private company's rules and powers can never be a defence against a statutory offence.
As an aside, in Singapore, people are too used to believing that private entities' rules bind them. That is how SBS can get away with saying that it has "authorised" its bus drivers to confiscate EZ Link cards, when in fact, they do not have any statutory right to compel anyone to surrender his card. As an extreme example, its as though I say that if I'm a shopping mall owner, I can authorise my security guards to beat up anyone they like.
For the tissue with a name/contact on it, yes it would be considered as theft. There is one illustration in Section 378 talking about a bank note in an envelope.
Z does not prove anything, it is for the DPP to prove that the object was in Z's possession.
Being aware of the situation does not mean anything. It is a good argument to say that a tissue paper left around is not in the possession of anyone. Just like chicken bones, disposable cups, disposable food packets etc.
And all of this still doesn't detract from the fact that the tissue leaver littered. He want to call police? He will risk a CWO order on him. It appears to me, easier to make out the case for lilttering, than for theft.
Last edited by vince123123; 7th October 2008 at 01:10 AM.
Cleanliness of markets and stalls
39. —(1) Every licensee of a private market shall keep the market in a clean and sanitary condition.
(2) Every licensee of a stall shall keep his stall and the immediate vicinity thereof in a clean and sanitary condition.
Buildings to which public has access to be kept clean
60. —(1) The owner, occupier or lessee of any building or any part thereof to which the public has access shall —
(a) regularly clean and keep clean and in good repair the building or part thereof; and
(b) keep the building or part thereof free of such conditions as may endanger the lives or health of his employees, members of the public and other users thereof.
Seems like some after the fact research....but anyway:
I had thought earlier that you said that the tissue paper packet is not a waste product? If so, how can clearing it be fulfiling an obligation under the EPHA?
You need to firm up your position, - either the tissue packet is a waste product, in which case ANYONE, both cleaners and public alike can clear it, or the tissue packet is NOT a waste product, in which case BOTH cleaners and public CANNOT clear it without being charged for criminal misappropriation. You can't have it one way without the other.
2. EZ Link
Actually, SBS didn't say "take it or leave it". Their first article on the newspaper sought to give the impression that people had to surrender the cards whenever their bus driver asked for it, ont eh grounds that their bus driver was "empowered by SBS". When I wrote to the papers to clarify that their right to confiscate is not a statutory right but merely a contractual one, they then said "but we never said it was a statutory right" - hence misleading by omission.
The key factor in a contractual right means that you, as customer, can refuse to surrender the card. What happens next is that if SBS is not happy, they can then institute a CIVIL action against you for breach of contract. What they CANNOT do is to demand you hand over the card, or forcibly try to snatch it from you, or detain you in the bus until you hand it over. If they do so, they would then be liable for criminal offences.
Hence, there is no take it or leave it - just assert your rights not to surrender it, and inform the bus driver that he can log the incident and ask SBS to sue you if they want.
Honestly, if your card is not a forged card or the like, and completely above board, SBS will never sue you - the PR damage resulting is unmeasurable.
3. Tissue on Cleared/Uncleared Tables
Just to address your point first (without going into what actually constitutes "possesssion" for now), are you saying that if a tissue packet is on an otherwise, completely empty table, it cannot be taken. So are you saying that it is okay for people to remove tissue packets if they are also found together with other items on the table (ie an uncleared table)?
The law mandates that the premises be kept in an acceptable condition, therefore, it also implies that the owners are given authority to keep the place clean in a reasonable manner.
1. Cleaners and Public
I'm not disputing that the cleaners can make the decision whether to clean or not, I'm saying that should the cleaner take the tissue paper away, and it is not considered to be an offence, then a member of the public can also take the same tissue paper away without being considered as committing an offence.
Being a cleaner does not give you special immunity against offences, even if they relate to cleaning.
The law mandates that the place be kept clean, but does not give any authority to anyone to say that "Hey I was complying with the law by keeping the place clean, so I threw away your S$1,000,000 cash envelope with your name/address written on it)". I think you got the two confused.
Hence if you take the view that the cleaners can take it away, under that same view, you cannot now say that the members of the public commit offences by taking it away. As said in the previous post, you can't have one or the other. There is no special defence from being a cleaner. See my post above again for more elaboration.
Okay, no issue, so long as it was clarified.
3. Tissue on Cleared/Uncleared Tables
I acknowledge that the law is there, and the judges interpret the law. However the judges cannot add their own vision into the law if the law clearly spells out otherwise.
What is important is that you did not answer my question on what happens if a tissue paper is used to reserve a seat on an uncleared table.
4. Who Decides?
Finally, to address your last points - we don't need a tissue paper act, the EPHA is sufficiently wide to cover tissue paper left around.
As for who decides, sorry, the cleaner is not the one who decide s whether the object left is in the possession of someone. It is the Judge or Prosecutor (when assessing whether to prosecute) who decides. Hence, your point about the cleaner being given the power to decide, is wrong.
Since the cleaner has no greater power, defence or immunity than a member of the public, both are considered to be in the same class. What is food for the goose, is food for the gander. Hence, if a cleaner will not be prosecuted for throwing away a tissue paper used to reserve seats, a member of the public will not be either.
Last edited by vince123123; 7th October 2008 at 01:22 PM.
I also dun like going around in circles... furthermore, there were some questions that you also simply deliberately didn't or can't answer mah... I dun insist on picking specific points but just like to understand how can an act be applied literally without reasonable leeway for variance in the complexity in life.
As example cited, http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showp...&postcount=167 , literal interpretation of that particular chapter isn't what it's intended to be applied.
I have to agree that it's harder to nail someone with a penal code as compared to someone littering, so my "argument" is from the beginning is already like pitting a motorcycle to a lorry... unless I have a 10ton motorcycle, it's hard to win against in a head-to-head clash in comparison of who will survive the outcome, but it dosen't mean that the lorry didn't get into an accident in the first place.
Well, so far I don't see anyone sharing the same view as you regarding the cleaners, the EPHA, their immunity to prosecution in the name of cleaning etc.
Hmm, for the fallen strand of hair thing, if the hair "falls" rather than being "deposited, placed, etc", it would fall outside of the EPHA.
As for a particular act being harder to prosecute than another, actually the answer is no. There is no legal concept that says that this Act (ie the Penal Code) is harder to prosecute than another act (EPHA).
So long as all elements in that Section are satisfied, the offence is made out.
The lorry and motorcycle analogy as you aptly put it, goes to show that in a confrontation, the tissue paper reserver would already start at a disadvantage compared to the tissue paper taker. Which was one of my points in the first place.
Last edited by vince123123; 7th October 2008 at 01:46 PM.