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Media Releases | Dec 2013

17 Dec 2013
Statement by Ng Joo Hee, Commissioner of Police, on Little India Riot

At the media briefing last Monday morning, I had said that Police would, in the hours and days following the riotous incident, go after the persons responsible for the violence that had occurred in Little India.

Immediately following the incident, Police launched a wide-ranging and fast-moving investigation to identify, locate and arrest the individuals that were involved in the Little India riot of two Sundays ago.

Today, I can report that we have come to the tail end of police’s investigative efforts.

Group 1

We have previously informed that 35 subjects have been charged in court for rioting.

As was mentioned by the DPM, this group of individuals were active participants in the riot. They were violent, they had attacked uniformed personnel and vehicles, damaged property, and had incited others to do so.

In court this afternoon, the prosecution intends to charge two new accused persons for rioting. At the same time, charges for seven of the original 35 would be withdrawn. Of these seven, four have been issued with stern warnings by the police. No further action will be taken against the remaining three.

So by the conclusion of business today, the total number of persons charged for the riot would be revised to 28.

Group 2

Early this morning, in an island-wide operation, we had brought in another 53 subjects for their involvement in the riot. They have been served with stern police warnings and immigration removal orders, and will be repatriated to their home countries shortly.

In comparison to the first group, this group of 53 will not be charged in court as their involvement in the violence of 8 Dec was assessed to be less egregious.

These 53 - 52 Indians and one Bangladeshi national - are presently being held at the Admiralty West Prison, which serves as an immigration depot, while travel arrangements get finalised. Prior to their departures, officers from the Ministry of Manpower are facilitating the final settlements of salaries with their employers, the closing of bank accounts and other administrative procedures. In addition, the respective embassies have been informed of our action and have full consular access to their nationals.

These 53 were employed by 48 different companies in Singapore. The majority have been in Singapore for less than five years. And about half of them worked in the building and construction sector.

With the repatriation of these 53, police action against suspected rioters has largely come to an end. Moving forward, we do not expect to be arresting, charging or repatriating many more persons. Of course, should new information or evidence come to light, police will pursue them to their logical conclusions.

Group 3

Separate from the first group of persons that were charged and the second group to be repatriated, there is another group of about 200 persons who have been called up by police and are assisting in our investigations.

Although they were physically present at the location of the riot, we are satisfied that their involvement has been passive and incidental.

They will eventually be formally advised by the police, but will be allowed to stay in Singapore and continue with their employment, on condition of continued good behaviour.

Traffic Accident

The traffic accident which took the life of Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu is still being actively investigated.

Traffic Police already have good information on what had happened. As the accident had sparked off the ensuing rioting, we want to take special care in arriving at our findings. As such, police is in the process of securing the services of an independent expert on accident reconstruction to analyse the information that we have and to provide us with an additional opinion.

We will update media of our progress at the appropriate time.

Wide-Ranging & Fast Moving Operation

Let me conclude by saying a few words about the scale and scope of police investigative action post-incident.

As you can imagine, police investigations following the riot were intense and wide-ranging. More than 500 police investigators were deployed.

You will remember arrests were made immediately after the riot. Careful forensic examination of the incident scene yielded more leads which eventually led to further arrests. Video and photographic evidence also proved to be invaluable in our effort to identify riotous individuals.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, and in the days afterwards, police officers up and down the country checked and screened almost 4,000 guest workers. In the process, more than 400 were subsequently called in for further interviews. From these, we were able to zero in on those who were involved and to assign culpability.

I am proud of my investigators who had worked tirelessly over the last week with little or no rest. Their dedication and diligence have allowed the police to bring in, without delay, those who were involved to answer for their offences.

I am also proud of the uniformed officers who were first on the scene on Sunday night, and the riot troopers who subsequently arrived to quell the rioting. Without exception, and contrary to some irresponsible reports on social media, they had all acted courageously and kept a cool head. Because of this, the riot was put down expeditiously and order restored quickly without loss of life.

PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
17 December 2013 @ 4.45pm

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