Theft in Singapore is a criminal offence under Section 378 of the Penal Code (Cap 224). It is defined in the law as follows:
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.
The punishment for theft is an imprisonment of up to 3 years, or a fine, or both. Shoplifting on the other hand is known as theft in dwelling-house, and is a more serious crime. The sentence for shoplifting may go up to 7 years imprisonment, along with a fine.
Public Prosecutor v M Andrew  SGDC 179 is a case where the shoplifter stole some items from an NTUC Fair price supermarket. He was sentenced to one day’s imprisonment and fined $1000. Although the law is strict on punishing shoplifters, it is not uncommon for a first time offender to be given a suitably high fine together with a nominal imprisonment term of one day. This article is no substitute for the advice offered by an experienced Singaporean criminal lawyer.