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What You Should Know Before You Hire a Private Investigation Agency in Singapore

by Asia Top Investigation

Hiring a Private Investigation (PI) 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):

Maid surveillance;

Employee movement surveillance – (in particular, key personnel);

Spousal surveillance (to investigate possible adultery);

Children surveillance;

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 Work that Requires Special Approval

By law, assignments investigating political figures, foreign diplomats, consuls, or their families, as well as the conduct of surveillance on certain protected (or militarily sensitive) places, foreign consulates, government buildings, departure and entry checkpoints, or certain private schools, require the special approval of the Singapore Police.

Type of Illegal Work Private Investigators Cannot Perform

Private investigators are legally required to undergo training and hold licences 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 its 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 offences. 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.

How To Engage The Right PI Agency?

Now that you understand the role of a PI, here are some tips for you to look out for when hiring a Private Investigator.

Do your work and research

There are many agencies available for you to choose which is why it becomes confusing. But reading reviews and testimonials about their previous works can help narrow down the most suitable ones. You will then have a better idea of their specialisation, methodology and reliability.

Ask for a referral

Aside from conducting your own research, asking for referrals from your family members or friends is another form of proven strategies. If you know someone who has engaged their services before, chances are they will give you their honest opinion.

SPF License

PI Agencies in Singapore requires a license to operate. This license is different from that of a Private Investigator who is only licensed to conduct investigations for agencies on behalf of their clients. This means that no one PI can work "freelance" or solicit their own business and is considered an illegal practice in Singapore.


In-depth knowledge and experience is a must when looking to hire a PI agency. When you hire a private investigator, ask for details about his previous cases that are related to your case. This gives you a chance to see if they can handle a case similar to yours and if they have what it takes to get the job done.


PIs have access to some very sensitive and personal information of their clients, and often their family members too. As such, you need to make sure that your PI is absolutely discreet and respectful when it comes to the information shared between the two of you.

This is a list of things which you will have to look out for when hiring a PI agency in Singapore. However, we'd always recommend getting a second opinion before choosing the right agency to solve your case. You should always go for the PI agency that you're most comfortable with, and trust that they will accomplish the task given.

If you’d like to learn more on private investigation related knowledge, feel free to check out our other articles here.


Licence No. L/PS/000016/2020

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