Singapore: Charges against three Indians for involvement in Singapore`s worst riot in 40 years were withdrawn on Monday while seven of their remaining 25 compatriots were released on bail.
Karuppiah Thirunavukkarasu, Ganesan Ashokkumar and Anbarasan Vel Murugan were acquitted of their charges by Subordinate Courts in the December 8 riot in Little India.
This brings the total number of alleged rioters who had their charges dropped to 10. Seven Indians were released on December 17 after the prosecution dropped their charges.
The three men would soon be released, the Channel News Asia reported.
The move came three days after 56 Indians and a Bangladeshi were deported from Singapore for alleged involvement in the riot in Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most 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.
Presently, 25 Indians face one rioting charge each, punishable by up to seven years in prison and caning.
The court offered bail to the remaining 25 Indians after submitting sureties of 20,000 Singapore dollars with one guarantor or 10,000 Singapore dollars with two guarantors each, Attorney General`s Chambers spokesperson told.
Subsequently, seven of them were released on bail.
The prosecution opposed the bail during the hour-long hearing, citing public safety concerns while the defence said bail is usually not granted in special circumstances, so the court should not depart from the usual practice in treating the foreign workers.
The case against 25 other alleged rioters was also heard today.
The hearing to finalise the charges against the accused will be held on December 27.
When out on bail, the accused must report to investigating officers once a week and will not be allowed to visit areas in Little India where an alcohol ban is in place, The Straits Times reported.