[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Singapore PM sounds warning after riot

Culprits to face "full force of the law" after unrest in city-state's Little India area leaves at least 18 injured.

Last updated: 09 Dec 2013 05:22
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Sunday's violence has prompted debate among Singaporeans about issues of overcrowding [AFP]

Singapore's prime minister has pledged to prosecute individuals involved with an overnight riot in the city-state, which left at least 18 people injured.

Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday that authorities would "spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law", after what was described as Singapore's worst rioting in more than 40 years.

Late on Sunday, about 400 South Asian migrant workers, angered by a road accident, battled police and set vehicles ablaze.

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 driven by a Singaporean.

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

Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such destructive behavior.

Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister

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

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.

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.

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

The violence prompted 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.

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.

Singapore is an orderly and modern city-state known for strict punishments and generally law-abiding citizens.

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

403

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.