Three more Indians face rioting charges in Singapore

The three suspects are among eight persons arrested yesterday in connection with the Sunday riot in Little India, triggered by the death of an Indian in a road accident, police said today. 

Earlier yesterday, 24 Indians, aged between 22 and 40, were remanded for a week to facilitate further investigations and face one rioting charge each, punishable by up to seven years in prison and caning.

"As for the remaining five subjects, one of them has been released on bail while further investigations revealed that the other four subjects were not involved in the incident," a spokesman said, adding that the four have been released from police custody.

The 24 charged in court yesterday are all work permit holders, Strait Times reported today.

A police car burns in the otherwise tourist-thronged Little India area of Singapore. File Pic/AFP

According to the chargesheet, the accused threw pieces of concrete and were "members of an unlawful assembly whose common object was to overawe, by a show of criminal force, police officers in the exercise of their lawful power to maintain law and order at the scene".

The case would be heard again on December 17. The Criminal Legal Aid Scheme was helping to secure lawyers for all the accused, its representative told the Court.

The Indian High Commission in Singapore was working with Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry to facilitate consular access and support for the 24 men being charged for their role in the riot 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 Kumaravelu, around 9:20 pm at the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road.

About 400 South Asian migrant workers were involved in the rampage that left 39 police and civil defence staff injured and 25 vehicles including 16 police cars damaged or burnt.

The police have interviewed about 3,700 foreign workers from 10 dormitories across the island so far. Of these, 176 had their statements taken at the Criminal Investigation Department, including those who were subsequently arrested.

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