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Singapore riot: 52 Indians to be deported, 28 charged

Singapore, Dec 17, 2013 (PTI)
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (front R) and Minister in Prime Minister's Office S Iswaran (front 2nd R) look at the site of two burnt vehicles following a riot in Singapore's Little India district, December 9, 2013. Local media said a mob of about 400 set fire to an ambulance and police cars during the riot on Sunday, which started after a bus knocked down a pedestrian. REUTERS

Singapore today 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.

"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 police 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, 52 Indians and one Bangladeshi national, who will be repatriated, will be interviewed by the Committee of Inquiry (COI) before they leave, police said.
No more arrests or repatriations are expected, Teo said.

He said the government will review the ban of consumption and sale of alcohol and will announce revised measures in the next few days.

Teo said these measures are likely to remain in place for the time being. Long term measures, he said, will depend on on-going public consultations and the COI findings.

Charges against seven Indians were dropped after they had spent a week in detention for their alleged roles in the December 8 riot in Little India.

The cases against 21 out of the remaining 28 was also heard in court, with the prosecution asking for them to be remanded for another week for further police investigations.


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