Updated: 12/09/2013 17:43

DPM Teo Chee Hean says those responsible for riot in Little India will be dealt with fairly and strictly



DPM Teo Chee Hean says those responsible for riot in Little India will be dealt with fairly and strictly

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean has called the riot in Little India a "serious incident." 

"I want to make very clear, that the government will not tolerate such lawless behaviour. I've asked the police to investigate the matter thoroughly, and deal with all aspects of this incident, and all persons involved, strictly, firmly, and fairly, according to our laws."

Mr Teo was speaking at a news conference in the early hours of Monday morning, shortly after visiting the scene of the incident together with Second Minister for Home Affairs, S Iswaran. 

They confirmed the situation was under control. 

"And I ask members of the public to stay calm, not to react to any speculation, and let the facts be established."

Police have classified the incident as "rioting with dangerous weapons". 

It started from a fatal traffic accident involving a private bus and a pedestrian at the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road, at 9.23pm on Sunday. 

The pedestrian who died when he was trapped under the bus after the accident, was a 33-year-old male Indian national. 

Shortly afterwards, a riot broke out involving about 400 people. 

About 300 police officers responded to the riot. 

They have arrested 27 people, all from South Asia, in connection with the rioting. 

A total of 10 police officers and 4 SCDF officers were injured. 

The bus driver, a Singaporean, and the bus conductor, were also injured. 

Nine SCDF vehicles were damaged.

And five vehicles were burnt - these include one SCDF ambulance, three police vehicles, and one motorbike. 

Police commissioner Ng Joo Hee says he has not experienced such an incident in his 26 years in the police force. 

"Well, let me say that the incident that happened last night is intolerable, wanton violence, rioting, destruction of property, fighting the police is not the Singapore way. The police will spare no effort, first to identify, and then we will find, and then we will arrest, and then we will prosecute everyone who is involved in yesterday's violence."

Commissioner Ng says the police will "pay extra attention not just to Little India, but also to foreign worker dormitories and known places of congregation". 

But he says the police will protect the safety of all law-abiding guest workers, and adds that they should go about their lives in a regular way. 

Asked about the impact of the riot on Singapore's reputation, Deputy Prime Minister Teo says Singapore is known to be a peaceful country. 

"We welcome guest workers here who are law-abiding and who want to make a living for themselves. And by and large, relationships are good. We also have, the police have also got community wardens working with the guest workers, among the guest workers themselves. And we will continue with this engagement. But we will not tolerate anyone who behaves in such a lawless way and we will deal with it, appropriately."

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