Public nudity on the rise in strait-laced Singapore

Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:18am EST
 
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SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Strait-laced Singapore, where chewing-gum sales are restricted and graffiti artists can be caned and jailed, is heading for a record year of public nudity.

Police received 105 reports of indecent exposure in the city state of 5 million in the first six months of 2010, or at least one every other day, and the numbers had been on the rise since 2007, police said on Wednesday.

Public nudity cases soared 22 percent to 166 in 2009 from 136 in 2007, the police force said.

The state-run Straits Times newspaper said police received two reports of public nudity last week, one on Sunday when a man in his 20s went naked to buy a coffee at a McDonald's restaurant and the other on Thursday when a man in his 40s sat naked on a pavement in a suburb.

Psychiatrist Ken Ung, who has treated many cases referred to him by the courts, said many of those who exposed themselves were either exhibitionists or attention seekers.

"Exhibitionism is a sexual disorder where the exhibitionists get a sexual thrill from the look of shock and horror on their victims' faces," Ung told the newspaper.

Ung did not say why the number of cases had been increasing.

People found guilty of appearing nude in public, or in a private place but visible to people outside, face a fine of up to S$2,000 ($1,530) and up to three months in jail.

(Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan)