Singapore riots: 52 Indians to be deported, 28 charged

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 20:08

Singapore: Singapore on Tuesday said 52 Indians will be deported and it will pursue criminal charges against 28 alleged rioters who actively participated in the country`s worst outbreak of violence in over 40 years, sending a tough message to trouble-makers.

Fifty three people, including 52 Indians and a Bangladesh national, to be deported, were arrested by police but not charged in court as their involvement in December 8 violence was assessed to be less egregious.

"We have taken strong and decisive action to charge and to repatriate those who took part in the riot to send a strong signal that we will not tolerate actions by anyone which threaten law and order in Singapore," Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean told a news conference.

The police said that it had completed its investigations into the riot on December 8 in Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most of the South Asian workers take their Sunday break.

The trouble started after a private bus fatally knocked down an Indian pedestrian, 33-year-old Sakthivel Kuaravelu in Little India. Some 400 migrant workers were involved in the rampage that left 39 police and civil defence staff injured and 25 vehicles -- including 16 police cars -- damaged.

Singapore previously witnessed violence of such scale during race riots in 1969.

A total of 28 individuals, all Indians, have been charged for their involvement as "active participants", another 53 will be repatriated for being participants and some 200 will be issued formal advisories, police said at a press conference here.

Earlier, 33 had been charged for alleged role in the rioting but seven were acquitted today and two others were arraigned bringing the number of those charged in the violence to 28.

The 53 individuals who will be repatriated will be interviewed by the Committee of Inquiry (COI) before they leave, police said.

Teo, who chaired the press conference along with Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee, said the 53 people were identified to have taken part in the riot and had failed to obey police orders to disperse.

The response of the 53 people makes their continued presence in Singapore "undesirable", Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security, said.

The 53 people who are to be deported were employed by 48 different companies in Singapore. The majority of them have been in Singapore for less than five years, and about half of them worked in the building and construction sector.

PTI

First Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 18:29

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