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28 face charges, 53 to be deported for S'pore riot

Publication Date : 18-12-2013


More than a week after mayhem broke out in Singapore's Little India district, police have largely completed their investigations and the authorities are proceeding with charges against 28 foreign workers and deporting another 53 of them.

The 53 will be given stern warnings and banned from entering Singapore. On Monday, seven others had the charges of rioting dropped against them in court.

Police said another 200 involved in the riot will be given advisories to obey the law but no further action will be taken against them. Their involvement was deemed "relatively passive based on the available evidence", and they can work here as long as they keep on the right side of the law.

The police said about 300 men were involved in the incident, not the initial estimate of 400.

At a press conference on Monday, Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee said not many more arrests, charges or repatriations are expected, barring new information or evidence.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the punishments sent a strong signal that the government will not tolerate actions by anyone who threatens Singapore's law and order.

"We will spare no effort to ensure that Singapore remains safe and peaceful for all who live, work in or visit our country."

During the riot - sparked by a fatal traffic accident involving Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu - some 39 Home Team officers sustained injuries and 25 government vehicles were damaged.

Ng said more than 500 police officers were deployed in the aftermath in a "wide-ranging and fast-moving investigation".

Almost 4,000 people were interviewed, out of whom 420 were called up to assist in the probes.

The 28 workers charged so far were "active participants" in the riot who committed violent acts, damaged property, defied police orders or incited others to do so.

Although the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) had earlier charged 35 people, it withdrew charges against seven for lack of evidence. Four of the seven will receive stern warnings and further action could be taken against them. The remaining three are free to work and live here.

The rounding up of the 53 workers for deportation began at 3:30am on Monday and ended by 5:16am, sources told The Straits Times, with no incident reported at the various dormitories they were picked up from. The workers, employed by 48 companies, are now at the Admiralty West Prison, an immigration depot.

Their actions on Sunday last week ranged from obstructing the police to failing to obey police orders to disperse.

DPM Teo said the repatriation is in accordance with laws here to deal with people assessed to be safety and security threats.

Ng said the Ministry of Manpower will handle their final salaries and other administrative matters before they leave. Some will also be interviewed by the four- man Committee of Inquiry investigating the riot. Their embassies have been alerted and have full consular access to them.

Two others are now out on bail pending further investigations.

Said Teo: "I would like to stress that we deal with those involved in the riot in a strict, firm and fair way. Each of these cases and each of these persons is dealt with carefully. The AGC and police will go through the evidence."


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