Death of Indian worker in Little India triggers riots in Singapore

Written by Associated Press | Singapore | Updated: Dec 10 2013, 19:57pm hrs
Singapore riotA view shows damaged vehicles along a road after a riot in Singapore's Little India district. (Reuters)
About 400 South Asian migrant workers angered by a road accident battled police and set vehicles ablaze in Singapore's worst rioting in decades, leaving 18 people injured, officials said Monday.

The violence erupted in the city-state's crowded Little India neighborhood Sunday night after an Indian worker was hit and killed by a private bus driven by a Singaporean, police and government authorities told a news conference.

Police arrested 27 South Asians, some of whom hurled bottles and other projectiles at authorities who tried to calm the scene, said police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee. Those hurt included 10 police officers and four defense force personnel.

Channel News Asia showed images of burning vehicles, a police car flipped on its side and people attacking the windshield of a bus with sticks and garbage bins. It said this was the worst such unrest in more than 40 years in Singapore, an orderly and modern city-state known for strict punishments and generally law-abiding citizens.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong warned that authorities would "spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law.''

"Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive, and criminal behavior,'' Lee wrote in a statement on his Facebook page early Monday.

The violence sparked debate among Singaporeans on social media about issues of overcrowding and the increase of migrant workers hired for Singapore's construction sector and menial jobs.

Singapore police arrests 27 people after riots in city-state

Singapore police have arrested 27 people following a riot involving South Asian workers in the 'Little India' shopping precinct here in the city-state's worst outbreak of violence in more than 40 years, following a fatal road accident that killed an Indian worker.

The trouble started after a private bus hit and killed Sakthivel Kuaravelu last night in 'Little India, a precinct of Indian-origin businesses, eateries and pubs where most of the South Asian workers take their Sunday break, police said.

Police have classified the case as one of "rioting with dangerous weapons" and arrested 27 South Asians in connection with the riot.

Kumaravelu, 33, was working here as a construction worker with Heng Hup Soon, a scaffolding company, for about two years, reported The Straits Times today.

His body was not decapitated as reported by some news outlets but he did suffer injuries to his face, it said.

Little India is an area popular among Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Nepali expatriates. It has scores of restaurants, grocery shops and a mall selling food and other items for people from those countries. On Sundays, the area is especially crowded with South Asian workers.