Victim of Little India accident was causing trouble on bus: police
- POSTED: 09 Dec 2013 21:31
This graph is an experimental feature that tracks number of views over time.
Preliminary investigations have revealed more details about Sunday night's riot at Little India, and the accident that apparently set it off.
SINGAPORE: Preliminary investigations have revealed more details about Sunday night's riot at Little India, and the accident that apparently set it off.
At a media briefing on Monday evening, police said the Indian national who died after being hit by a private bus at Race Course Road had been causing trouble on the bus before the accident.
The bus driver, a Singaporean Chinese, 55, has been arrested, and is out on bail.
Police said the case against the driver is classified as “causing death by a negligent act”, an offence under Section 304a (b) of the Penal Code Chapter 224.
According to the police, 33-year-old construction worker Sakthivel Kumaravelu was intoxicated, and had boarded the private bus, which was believed to be ferrying foreign workers to the Avery Lodge dormitory in Jalan Papan.
The bus driver asked for assistance from a 38-year-old Singaporean woman who was responsible for checking the arrival and departure times of the buses.
He asked her for help to get Mr Sakthivel off the bus as he was causing trouble.
She managed to get Mr Sakthivel off the bus, and the bus driver subsequently closed the door before moving off.
The woman works for the Singapore School Transport Association, which handles transport arrangements for foreign workers to and from their dorms to Little India.
Police said the driver heard a loud bang on the left side of his bus as he was making a left turn onto Race Course Road.
Upon alighting to check, the bus driver found Mr Sakthivel underneath the bus, near the left rear tyre of the private bus.
Police said two officers arrived at the scene at about 9:40pm, 17 minutes after a call was made reporting the accident.
They found that a crowd of about 100 men had surrounded the scene, but were not yet aggressive.
Singapore Civil Defence officers tried to extricate Mr Sakthivel from underneath the bus, but their efforts were hindered by the crowd that had by then become "boisterous".
Police and SCDF officers had to form a shield to protect the officers who had to extricate the victim.
By the time they managed to recover Mr Sakthivel's body at about 10pm, the crowd had started assaulting the bus driver and the time-keeper, by throwing bottles and dustbins at the bus.
Officers managed to get the two to safety, and they were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
The victim’s body was also taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
The police said that according to standard protocol, two troops of Special Operations Command officers were deployed to manage the crowd, which had by then grown to about 400 people.
They arrived at 10:30pm, but due to congestion on the streets, had to go to the location on foot.
Together with the police officers from the Tanglin and Central Police Division, the Special Operations Command got the situation under control by 11:30pm.
Police said they are interviewing many more men from the various dormitories, and will likely make more arrests in the coming days.
Of the 27 arrested, 24 are Indian nationals, two are Bangladeshi nationals and one is a Singaporean Permanent Resident.
The Singaporean PR is understood to be not South Asian.
Some of the rioters are expected to be charged in court on Tuesday, for rioting and vandalism.
Police said they have stepped up enforcement along Race Course Road and its immediate surroundings.
They said they are determining their deployment of officers at Little India this weekend.
Meanwhile, Channel NewsAsia understands the police started conducting their investigations at Avery Lodge before 5am on Monday.
The 50 to 60 workers Channel NewsAsia spoke with on Monday at Avery Lodge, have said they have no first-hand knowledge of what transpired on Sunday night, with many of them saying they were back in their dorms by about 4:30pm on that same day.
But that has not stopped the police from carrying out their investigations.
Investigation officers were seen leaving the lodge on Monday morning, and police officers were seen checking workers permits.
Later in the evening, some workers at the lodge were led away by the police.