Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 12/20/2013 18:10 | By Channel NewsAsia

Little India riot: Four more to be deported, 53 repatriated

Little India riot: Four more to be deported, 53 repatriated


Little India riot: Four more to be deported, 53 repatriated

SINGAPORE: Four more Indian nationals are expected to be deported on Friday night because of their involvement in the Little India riot.

The four are among a group of seven previously charged in court, but subsequently had their charges withdrawn.

Police said they had full access to consular assistance.

A previous group of 53 workers slated for repatriation have all been sent back home.

With the latest group to be sent home, police said the repatriation operation arising from investigations into the riot will more or less come to an end.

This brings the total number of those being repatriated as a consequence of their involvement in the December 8 riot at Little India, to 57.

Of the 57, the Committee of Inquiry looking into the incident has spoken to 20 of them.

The last four to be repatriated received stern police warnings along with immigration removal orders, and will not be allowed to enter Singapore again.

Stern warnings are given to those who may have committed offences in lieu of prosecution.

This is normally done on a case-by-case basis, where, for example, there may not be enough evidence to convict someone.

Ng Joo Hee, commissioner of police, Singapore Police Force, said: "It is not uncommon that police give warnings. But because the persons who received the warnings, in this case, are foreigners…So they are then deemed as undesirable immigrants in our country. And then there are powers that the state has, to proclaim someone a prohibited immigrant and to remove him from the country."

Police stressed that there is no need for a trial for those deemed “undesirable”, since no criminal charges are being brought before them in court.

Authorities decide whether to charge, deport or issue warnings and advisories based on the degree of offences committed based on evidence.

In the three years leading to 2013, an average of 13,000 foreigners have been repatriated annually under the Immigration Act.

While four of the seven foreign workers involved in the riot who had charges against them dropped will be deported, the other three will be given police advisories which will be served on December 22.

Some 200 workers in total will get the advisories reminding them to comply with Singapore laws, with their employers as witnesses, and no further action will be taken against them.

The workers come from over 150 companies spanning industries like the construction, trade and marine sectors.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to keep foreign workers occupied within their dormitories.

Kevin Teoh, director of Foreign Manpower Management Division at the Ministry of Manpower, said: "Not all activities are expensive. So, I mean, you could have a cricket game out there. Drinks could be provided. It is not expensive, so these are things that we can consider."

The Ministry of Manpower is working with dormitories to bring forward organised activities for foreign workers on their calendars.  - CNA/nd

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