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What is a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR)?

What is a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR)?

STR is the short form of Suspicious Transaction Reports. It is a procedure that Singapore has adopted in its fight against money laundering, fraud, drug trafficking, terrorism financing, and other illegal activities. The country is working hard to ensure such things don’t corrupt its financial institution, among other sectors. As the name suggests, it is about reporting any suspicious. Anyone can file an STR to the Suspicious Transaction Report Office (STRO).

The Legal Profession Act guides legal practitioners. They are obliged to report an instance of a transaction associated with crime or drugs. That’s regardless of whether the issue is confirmed or the practitioner only has reasons to believe so. The guide is a section of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (‘CDSA’). They should report to the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Officer or any other authorized personnel. As for Singapore citizens, whether living within or outside its boundaries, they must also file an STR. That’s according to a section of the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act. Therefore, if a transaction involving terrorists has happened or yet to, one must report it by filing the STR.

The reporters should file it only if there is a reason to believe that the money is related to fraud, drug trafficking, terrorism financing, and money laundering, among other crimes.


How to file a Suspicious Transaction Report?

When it comes to STR, the regulatory authority is the STRO. Its responsibilities include receiving, analyzing, and disseminating various suspicious transaction reports. It works under the Singapore Police Force, the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), to be precise. STRO has an electronic filing system that allows people to file SRTs electronically.

The latest system is the STRO Online Notices and Reporting platform (‘SONAR’). It is a platform that allows any business or its workers to file an SRT if a need arises. It also comes in handy when filing Cash Transaction Reports (CTRs – NP 759) and Cross Border Cash Movement Reports (CMRs – NP 728). Before that, this reporting could be done using two systems, namely the Electronic 728 (E728) and the Suspicious Transaction Report Online Lodging System (STROLLS). SONAR integrates all three reports by availing three corresponding electronic files. They are:

  • A new form to file STRs
  • Form NP 759 to file CTRs
  • Form NP 728 to file CMRs

The efforts seem to be paying off in Singapore. Between 2014 and 2017, STRs increased from 29082 to 35471. The reporting has helped by offering the enforcement agencies information, patterns, and intelligence. In 2018, the figures dropped to 32,660, which was an incredible drop.


Clearly, STRs are essential for the sanity of the financial sector lest it surrenders to illegal activities. Whether it is money laundering, fraud, drugs, or terrorism financing, once Singapore’s reputation is ruined, everyone, including the innocent business people, will suffer. That’s why you should take it upon yourself to file one if such transactions happen or are about to at all times.

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