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Pulau Senang

Coordinates: 1°10′14″N 103°44′10″E / 1.17056°N 103.73611°E / 1.17056; 103.73611

Pulau Senang
Name transcription(s)
 • Chinese 安乐岛
 • Pinyin ānlè dǎo
 • Malay Pulau Senang
 • Tamil புலாவ் செனாங்
Country Singapore

Pulau Senang is a 81.7-hectare coral island about 13 kilometres off the southern coast of Singapore. Along with Pulau Pawai and Pulau Sudong, it is used as a military training area for live-fire exercises. Pulau Senang is best known in the history of Singapore as a penal settlement experiment that failed after only three years, when a riot against the guards broke out in 1963, killing three officers.


Pulau Senang is Malay for "island of ease".


Pulau Senang was a penal experiment where prisoners were allowed to roam freely on the island. It was thought that detainees could be reformed through manual labour.

The settlement started on 18 May 1960, when 50 detainees arrived with Superintendent Daniel Dutton. Over the next three years, the number of detainees rose to 320, and they transformed the island into an attractive settlement.

Believing that through hard work, the detainees could be reformed. Dutton removed arms from the guards. On 12 July 1963, a group of some 70 to 90 detainees rioted and burned down most of the buildings. They hacked Dutton to death and killed two other officers. 58 people were accused of rioting and murdering Dutton and officers Arumugan Veerasingham and Tan Kok Hian.

Because of the large number of the accused, a special dock had to be constructed for them. The case went to trial on 18 November and lasted an unprecedented 64 days. On 12 March 1964, the seven-member jury found 18 of the accused guilty of murder, 18 guilty of rioting with deadly weapons and 11 guilty of rioting. The remaining 11 accused were acquitted. Those found guilty of murder were sentenced to death, while those found guilty of rioting with deadly weapons were sentenced to three years of imprisonment; the rest to two years of imprisonment.

Most of those involved in the rioting were members of secret societies who were detained without trial and had no hope of leaving the island. As a result of the riots, the penal experiment came to an abrupt end.

Restricted area

Since the early 1980s, the island together with Pulau Sudong and Pulau Pawai, these three islands formed the Singapore Armed Forces southern islands military training area and live-firing zone.[1] As with all other military installations within the country, the entire live-firing zone is strictly off limits to all civilians at all times of the day and night.[2]


Pulau Semakau. (Note: This is as close as you can get to see the islands due to its military sensitivity.)


External links

  • Coral reefs of Singapore - Live-firing islands
  • Google Maps
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