Isnin, 9 Disember 2013

Riot in Singapore's Little India

December 09, 2013
SINGAPORE: At least three busloads of police officers in riot gear responded to a riot that broke out along Race Course Road around 10pm on Sunday night.

The mob believed to be made up mainly of foreign workers apparently attacked an ambulance and a traffic police highway patrol car responding to an accident earlier in the vicinity.

The Singapore's Straits Times understands that a Bangladeshi worker was hit by a bus earlier and first responders were believed to be attending to the victim when the riot started.

At least two vehicles were set on fire. According to preliminary reports from the ground, one of the vehicles on fire is an ambulance on fire. Also a few police cars were overturned and one was set on fire.

There were at least two explosions at the scene involving these vehicles. Police have cordoned the entire Race Course Road as they try to contain the situation. A section of the shops along Buffalo Road have been ordered to shutter.

Firefighters are at the scene putting out the flames that had engulfed two vehicles believed to be an SCDF ambulance and a police patrol car. There are at least four police patrol cars which were overturned along the road. One minibus which appeared to have collided with a civilian vehicle is further down Buffalo Road.

All the rioters appear to have dispersed but riot police can be seen combing the area. The crowds who were earlier cheering the police are still milling around.

Residents in the area described the scene as "havoc". One resident said at one point he saw about 200 men surround the minibus that was involved in the accident.

Eighteen injured as foreign workers riot in Singapore's Little India district

It's the city-state's worst outbreak of violence in more than 40 years.

A police statement said the disturbance started in the congested Little India district when a 33-year-old Indian man was killed after being hit by a private bus.

Police said about 400 people on the scene began rioting, attacking the bus as well as police vehicles after officers responded to reports of a commotion.

Officials said 10 policemen, four civil defence staff and the bus driver and conductor were among the injured, but none were seriously hurt.

A total of 27 workers were arrested on charges of rioting, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison plus caning.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a statement that "whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive, and criminal behaviour".

"We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law," he said.

Five vehicles including three police cars and a civil defence ambulance were burnt while pictures and videos posted in social media showed two police cars being overturned by a cheering mob.

Several private vehicles were also damaged in the fracas.

The situation was brought under control after the elite Special Operations Command and Gurkhas working for the police arrived on the scene.

The rare outbreak of public disorder in strictly governed Singapore took place in an area normally packed with thousands of workers, mostly from the Indian subcontinent, on their day off.

"Let me say that the incident that happened last night is intolerable," Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee said.

"Rioting, destruction of property, it is not the Singapore way."

State-linked broadcaster MediaCorp said it was the first riot in Singapore since racial disturbances in 1969.

Singapore depends heavily on guest workers, with labourers from South Asia dominating sectors like construction.

Many congregate in Little India on Sundays to shop, dine and drink.

The incident immediately triggered online attacks on foreign workers in Singapore, but officials called for calm and warned against speculation.

Anyone who is found to be armed in a riot or using objects as weapons that can cause death can be jailed up to 10 years with the possibility of caning, a punishment reserved for serious crimes.

Hundreds of foreign workers, mostly from Bangladesh and India, have rioted in Singapore after being enraged by a fatal road accident, leaving 18 people injured and police vehicles burnt. 

Video Riot in Singapore

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