( dpa ) - Judges in Singapore now have the option of ordering caning for more offences with stiffer penalties in effect, a government ministry said Saturday.
Among the offences now punishable by caning are joining an unlawful assembly while armed with a deadly weapon, manslaughter and causing harm with poison.
"We will continue to ensure that our laws and policies are effective in protecting our people and maintaining public order," the Ministry of Home Affairs told The Straits Times.
Under the law, a maximum of 25 strokes can be ordered for men under 50, a punishment criticized by rights groups outside the city- state.
In all, maximum fines were hiked for 56 offences and maximum jail terms were increased for 100 offences under amendments to the penal code passed by parliament in October.
They apply to crimes committed as of Friday, but no one has been charged yet under the new statutes.
Among the changes are a 50 per cent hike in maximum jail time and fines for religiously motivated crimes.
An offender can now be jailed for up to three years and fined 7,500 Singapore dollars (5,244 US dollars).
Life imprisonment was removed for 13 offences, including counterfeiting currency.