What is a Private Investigator?
A Private Investigator (PI) searches for clues to gather evidence for court cases or private clients. They interview people, verify information, conduct surveillance, find missing persons, and gather vital facts for cases.
What you should know before you hire a private investigator?
Hiring a Private Investigation Agency can be tough. Of course, you'd want to work with an agency that is experienced and can solve the case for you in the most cost-effective method, without compromising your identity.
With the strict laws set in place for this industry in Singapore, many PI agencies have resorted to creative ways to accomplish their tasks given by clients. But what exactly are the services a PI can provide, and what is considered illegal?
Types of Work Private Investigators Perform
Private investigators execute a wide variety of work, including (but not limited to):
Background Checks – (in particular, key personnel);
Finding Missing Persons or Property;
Family member gambling-related movements;
Trademark or copyright infringement corporate matters; as well as
General investigation to obtain evidence to be used in civil or criminal matters.
Type of Illegal Work Private Investigators Cannot Perform
Private investigators are legally required to undergo training and hold licenses issued by the Singapore Police. As a result, a PI will be able to advise the client as to the legality of the methods used in the investigation.
The legality of hidden spy cameras depends on their usage. As of 2019, there are no specific privacy laws in Singapore. A spycam is generally used by PIs to film an investigation target or location, but to stay within the boundaries of the law, such cameras are usually only trained at public places or places owned by the client (e.g. the main door of a client’s house, or the living room, for instance, to track a spouse or maid’s activities).
However, if the use of the spycam involves housebreaking, insulting a woman’s modesty, or the recording and storing of obscene material, said usage may constitute criminal offenses. In a divorce matter, the PI or the client runs the risk of being prosecuted or countersued if illegal methods of recording and spying are used. (For more information on how to gather evidence to support a divorce application, see the section below).
Additionally, other activities, such as hacking into the private digital accounts of individuals (e.g. Facebook accounts) may run afoul of Singapore’s laws, such as the Computer Misuse Act.
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