Kazakhstan Takes Stand Against Vandalism

Kazakhstan Takes Stand Against Vandalism
Фото: Midjourney 12.06.2024 16:15 2354

At the National Congress held in Atyrau, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has issued a strong condemnation of vandalism and wasteful spending, urging citizens to adopt a more responsible and respectful attitude towards public property and national resources. In his recent remarks, President Tokayev highlighted the rampant defacement of public and cultural heritage sites as a pressing concern.

"Unfortunately, the rampant defacement of everything from public property to centuries-old cultural heritage has already become the norm.," Tokayev stated. " Just look at Zhumbaktas in Burabay, Kempirtas in Bayanaul, whose unique beauty is overshadowed by various writings. Why is it necessary to destroy elevators in apartment buildings, playgrounds in yards, bus stops on the streets?! All of this is evidence of ill-mannered and uncultured behaviour."

The President emphasized the importance of protecting public property, calling it a fundamental duty of every citizen in a civilized society. He pointed to countries like Japan, South Korea, China, and Singapore as exemplary models for their citizens' respect for public spaces and communal assets.

" Every citizen of a civilised country should protect public property as their own. In this respect, the examples of Japan, South Korea, China, and Singapore are illustrative for many. Why should we be worse than others?”, Tokayev questioned.

In addition to vandalism, President Tokayev addressed the issue of wasteful spending, highlighting the need for a cultural shift towards frugality and conservation. He noted that in many developed countries, there is a strong culture of conserving resources such as light and water, whereas the opposite is often true in other regions.

"Undoubtedly, the beginning of prosperity is frugality. In developed countries, there is a strong culture of conserving light and water. We have the exact opposite situation; because of the wastefulness of millions of our fellow citizens, the country’s wealth is being wasted," Tokayev remarked.

The President called for a collective effort to instill values of respect, responsibility, and conservation among citizens. By fostering a culture of care for public property and resources, Tokayev believes that the nation can work towards a more respectful, prosperous, and sustainable future.

President Tokayev's remarks have sparked discussions nationwide, with many citizens and officials expressing support for his call to action. Despite efforts to curb vandalism, the problem persists with disturbing frequency, affecting historical monuments, public places, and private properties alike. Incidents of defacement and destruction continue to rise, as seen in recent events both locally and across the nation.

Several years ago, the pristine salt flats of Kobeytuz, renowned for their unique natural beauty, were marred by visitors who not only drove their vehicles onto the delicate terrain but also took large quantities of salt from the site. This blatant disregard for preservation echoed the actions of individuals who vandalized the historic gorge in the Mangistau region, an act that sparked widespread outrage and discussion within the community.

The situation is equally troubling in well-known domestic locations. Sites like Zumbaktas are frequently defaced with inscriptions, detracting from their cultural and aesthetic value. Urban areas are not immune to such behavior either; elevators in residential buildings are often vandalized, road signs and plates are broken, bus stops are destroyed, and garbage cans are overturned.

According to recent statistics, over 5,000 acts of vandalism were recorded in the country last year alone. This alarming figure underscores the persistent nature of the problem and the need for more effective measures to protect public and historical assets.

Local authorities and community leaders are calling for increased vigilance and stricter penalties to deter such destructive behavior. Public awareness campaigns are also being launched to educate citizens on the importance of preserving their cultural and historical heritage.

In response to President Tokayev's address at the National Congress, the Majilis has taken decisive action by passing a draft law aimed at imposing tougher penalties for acts of vandalism and environmental offenses. The legislation, which has been forwarded to the Senate for approval, is poised to bring significant changes to the country's Criminal Code once enacted.

Under the proposed amendments, the penalties for vandalism, outlined in Article 434 of the Criminal Code, will see a substantial increase. Individuals found guilty of defacing buildings, structures, residential premises, public spaces, or property in vehicles will face a fine ranging from 50 to 200 Monthly Calculation Indicators (MCI), or administrative detention spanning from 5 to 50 days. Repeat offenders within a year will be subject to more severe administrative detention, lasting between 20 to 30 days.

Moreover, Article 203 of the Criminal Code, addressing the deliberate destruction, removal, or damage of objects of special value, will now include specific provisions for both organized groups and repeat offenders. Those found conspiring or engaging in such activities multiple times will face enhanced penalties.

In a bid to combat environmental degradation, the penalties for offenses under the article "Pollution of common places" have been doubled. Offenders who pollute parks, squares, or engage in the improper disposal of communal waste will be fined an amount equivalent to 10 MCI, with repeated violations within a year requiring repayment of 20 MCI to the state.

These legislative measures underscore the government's commitment to safeguarding public spaces, preserving cultural heritage, and promoting environmental conservation. By implementing stricter penalties, Kazakhstan aims to deter acts of vandalism and encourage responsible stewardship of its natural and cultural resources.

Singapore's Vigorous Fight Against Vandalism

Singapore is renowned for its immaculate streets, well-maintained public spaces, and orderly urban environment. This reputation is no accident but the result of a robust and multifaceted approach to combating vandalism. The nation's stringent measures to maintain public order and cleanliness are embedded in its legal framework, community engagement, and rigorous law enforcement practices.

At the heart of Singapore's fight against vandalism is the Vandalism Act of 1966. This legislation was introduced to curb acts of defacement and property damage and imposes severe penalties on offenders. The law is uncompromising, with penalties including hefty fines, imprisonment, and even corporal punishment in the form of caning. First-time offenders can face up to three years in prison, fines amounting to several thousand Singapore dollars, and up to eight strokes of the cane. These harsh measures serve as a formidable deterrent, underscoring the seriousness with which Singapore treats acts of vandalism.

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, a staunch advocate for the legislation, emphasized the importance of instilling fear of punishment to deter criminal behavior during parliamentary debates. Lee Kuan Yew's sentiments reflected a broader societal belief in the efficacy of strict penalties as a deterrent against crime.

Singapore's approach extends beyond punitive measures. The government actively engages in public awareness campaigns to educate citizens and residents about the importance of maintaining a clean and orderly environment. Schools and community programs integrate lessons on civic responsibility, emphasizing the consequences of vandalism. These educational efforts are complemented by community involvement initiatives. Local organizations and community groups are encouraged to participate in monitoring and reporting vandalism through neighborhood watch programs and community patrols, fostering a collective sense of responsibility.

Law enforcement agencies in Singapore are known for their strict enforcement of anti-vandalism laws. Surveillance cameras are strategically placed in public areas to monitor and deter potential vandals. The police and other regulatory bodies respond swiftly to reports of vandalism, ensuring that offenders are apprehended and that property is restored promptly. This quick response capability is a critical component of Singapore's strategy, reinforcing the message that vandalism will not be tolerated.

One of the most notable cases highlighting Singapore's tough stance on vandalism was the Michael Fay incident in 1994. Fay, an American teenager, was caned for vandalism and other offenses. He was sentenced to two months in prison and four strokes of the cane for vandalizing cars—a decision that sparked international debate and intervention from then-U.S. President Bill Clinton. The case attracted global media attention and underscored Singapore's unwavering commitment to its laws, despite international criticism. This incident exemplifies the government's resolve to uphold its standards of public order regardless of external pressures.

The results of Singapore's stringent anti-vandalism measures are evident in the city's pristine condition and the high level of public support for these laws. The clean and orderly state of public spaces, including transportation hubs, parks, and urban areas, is a testament to the effectiveness of these policies. The deterrent effect of harsh penalties and strict enforcement is significant, contributing to the overall quality of life in Singapore.

In conclusion, Singapore's fight against vandalism is a comprehensive strategy that combines strict legal measures, active community involvement, and effective law enforcement. These efforts not only deter potential vandals but also foster a culture of respect and responsibility among its citizens. By maintaining high standards of public order and cleanliness, Singapore sets an example for cities worldwide, demonstrating the positive impact of a disciplined and cooperative approach to urban management.

Global Trends in Vandalism Punishment

Across the globe, governments are cracking down on vandalism with stringent laws and harsh penalties, reflecting a universal commitment to preserving public property and cultural heritage. From England to the United States and Norway, strict legislation ensures that perpetrators face significant consequences for their actions.

In England, vandals who damage public property face substantial fines or imprisonment, depending on the extent of the damage. If the damage amounts to up to £5,000, offenders may be fined £2,500 or imprisoned for one month. For damages exceeding £5,000, individuals may be required to compensate for the loss or face imprisonment for up to six months. Those who desecrate historical monuments can face imprisonment for up to 10 years, underscoring the seriousness with which the country treats acts of vandalism.

Despite variations in laws across different states, vandalism is uniformly prohibited and punished across the United States. In California, for instance, offenders face significant fines and imprisonment for damaging public property. Fines range from $5,000 for damages exceeding $400 to $50,000 for damages surpassing $10,000. Depending on the severity of the offense, individuals may also face imprisonment. This strict enforcement reflects the nation's commitment to upholding the rule of law and preserving public spaces.

In Norway, vandalism is categorized based on the extent of damage and the intent of the perpetrator. Petty vandalism, which involves minor damage, may result in large fines or imprisonment for up to one year. However, actions that pose a threat to society, such as vandalism resulting in death, carry far more severe consequences. Offenders may face imprisonment for up to 21 years, highlighting the gravity with which Norway addresses acts of vandalism and their potential impact on public safety.

In conclusion, whether in England, the United States, or Norway, vandalism is met with strict legal measures aimed at deterring such behavior and safeguarding public property and cultural heritage. These laws reflect a global recognition of the importance of preserving communal spaces and upholding societal values, underscoring the severity of vandalism as a criminal offense.

Stringent Vandalism Laws

In both Japan and South Korea, acts of vandalism are met with severe legal consequences, reflecting a commitment to maintaining public order and preserving cultural heritage. From minor infractions to serious offenses, stringent laws ensure that perpetrators face significant penalties for their actions.

Vandalism in Japan is met with strict punishment, with fines and imprisonment varying depending on the severity of the offense. Minor violations, such as graffiti or minor damage to property, may result in a fine of 20,000 yen. However, more serious offenses, such as the destruction of buildings or causing harm to individuals, carry harsher penalties, including imprisonment for up to 5 years. In cases deemed as serious mischief, offenders may face imprisonment for up to 3 years and a fine of 300,000 yen. Damage to historical relics and cultural heritage is treated with utmost seriousness, warranting imprisonment for up to 5 years or a fine of one million yen.

Similarly, South Korea imposes strict penalties for acts of vandalism, particularly graffiti-related offenses. Offenders who damage buildings or objects through graffiti may face a fine of seven million won and imprisonment for up to 3 years. Additionally, trespassing on private property carries a hefty penalty of five million won.

These severe punishments reflect a shared commitment across Japan and South Korea to deter acts of vandalism and uphold societal values of respect for public spaces and cultural heritage. The strict enforcement of vandalism laws underscores the importance of maintaining order and preserving communal assets for the benefit of present and future generations.

France has experienced instances of vandalism, particularly in urban areas. Graffiti is a common form of vandalism, with unauthorized street art appearing on public buildings, monuments, and transportation infrastructure. In response, municipalities often employ graffiti removal teams to clean affected areas promptly. Additionally, the French government has implemented measures to prevent vandalism, such as increased surveillance and penalties for offenders.

Germany also faces vandalism challenges, including graffiti, property damage, and desecration of cultural landmarks. The country has strict laws governing vandalism, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment depending on the severity of the offense. German authorities work diligently to address vandalism, often collaborating with community groups and employing technology like surveillance cameras to deter and apprehend offenders.

In Australia, vandalism occurs in various forms, including graffiti, property damage, and public infrastructure destruction. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne have seen vandalism-related issues, prompting government initiatives to combat graffiti and protect public spaces. Community engagement programs, street art initiatives, and increased law enforcement efforts aim to address vandalism and promote respect for public property.

Vandalism is a concern in Brazil, particularly in densely populated urban areas. Graffiti is prevalent, with both artistic and destructive forms present on buildings, bridges, and public transportation. While street art is celebrated in some communities, unauthorized tagging and property damage remain problematic. Brazilian authorities work to enforce anti-vandalism laws and promote community involvement in prevention and cleanup efforts.

In India, vandalism manifests in various ways, including graffiti, property damage, and destruction of public amenities. Urban centers like Mumbai and Delhi grapple with vandalism issues, impacting public spaces, historical sites, and transportation infrastructure. Efforts to address vandalism involve community engagement, public awareness campaigns, and law enforcement interventions to deter and penalize offenders.

No to vandalism

Each country adopts unique strategies to combat vandalism, reflecting cultural norms, legal frameworks, and societal values. While challenges persist, concerted efforts by governments, communities, and law enforcement agencies aim to mitigate vandalism's impact and preserve public spaces and cultural heritage.

In light of global practices in combating vandalism, initiatives to increase fines and penalties for such offenses by Parliament are rooted in the recognition of the necessity for robust legal measures to deter destructive behavior and safeguard public spaces. By aligning with international standards, legislative changes aim to reinforce societal norms and promote a culture of respect and responsibility towards shared environments.

President Tokayev's call for action has sparked discussions nationwide, with many citizens and officials expressing support for his initiatives. Despite efforts to curb vandalism, the problem persists with alarming frequency, affecting historical monuments, public places, and private properties alike. The passage of stricter legislation signals a significant step forward in Kazakhstan's ongoing battle against vandalism and environmental degradation, reflecting the nation's determination to foster a culture of respect, responsibility, and conservation among its citizens.

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