Updated: 02/21/2014 01:46

Little India COI: Timekeeper experienced rowdy behavior in the past



Little India COI: Timekeeper experienced rowdy behavior in the past

Timekeeper Wong Gek Woon says she has experienced two previous instances where foreign workers boarding buses from Little India behaved disorderly.

However in her five years on her part-time job, she has not received training in handling difficult people. 

Madam Wong said this as she took the stand on day two of the Committee of Inquiry hearing into the Little India riot that happened on 8 December last year. 

She was coordinating the movement of buses along Tekka Lane that night when she ordered 33-year-old Indian construction worker Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu off a bus which later ran over him. 

The fatal traffic accident allegedly sparked the riot. 

Madam Wong said bus drivers have an agreement among themselves to reject drunk passengers. 

And compared to two years ago, she had turned away more workers for drunkenness recently. 

It was her observation that more get drunk on the first weekend of the month after pay day.

There are also more frequent police patrols in the first two weeks of the month. 

Madam Wong said at about 9pm that night, Mr Sakthivelu had asked her for the boarding point for the bus head for Jalan Papan. 

She then directed him to the queue. 

When the bus arrived at about 9.10pm, she was informed by another worker that Mr Sakthivelu had jumped the queue and boarded the bus. 

She was also told he was drunk and had dropped his pants. 

Madam Wong then boarded the bus and asked him to get off. 

He complied. 

After alighting, Mr Sakthivel walked along Tekka Lane towards Race Course Road. 

Madam Wong said she turned away after he walked off. 

The bus driver then moved off slowly and that was when the accident happened. 

Madam Wong said she was coordinating the next bus for Jalan Papan when some workers informed her of the accident. 

The timekeeper said she then moved towards the bus and squatted down to take a look. 

Just then, someone assaulted her on the back of her head.

An Indian man in checked shirt then urged her to board the bus, which she did. 

She stayed onboard with bus driver Lee Kim Huat as the rioters attacked the vehicle.

When the windows were shattered, a rioter climbed through one of them and attacked Madam Wong who tried to shield herself with a raincoat.

Madam Wong was asked if she had in the course of her work, been rude to the foreign workers by using vulgarities or made racist remarks. 

To that, she asid "no", adding that she raises her voice when they get disorderly. 

Bus driver Mr Lee Kim Huat is the next to take the stand today. 

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