Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 01/14/2014 13:04 | By Channel NewsAsia

Public hearing for COI on Little India riot to begin Feb 19

Public hearing for COI on Little India riot to begin Feb 19


Public hearing for COI on Little India riot to begin Feb 19

SINGAPORE: The public hearing for the Committee of Inquiry (COI) on the riot in Little India will start on February 19 at 10am at the Subordinate Courts.

In a statement on Tuesday, the COI Secretariat also said the hearing will continue on working days until further notice.

It invites those who wish to make representations or give evidence to the inquiry to notify it by February 5 at COI_secretariat@mha.gov.sg.

They are to provide brief information on the evidence and documents that they wish to present at the hearing.

The secretariat said representations and evidence should be confined to the terms of reference of the inquiry.

Members of public are also welcome to attend the hearing, added the secretariat.

The statement also said since the appointment of the COI on December 13 last year, the team has met a number of times to discuss the work of the inquiry, including the review of some of the evidence.

In addition, it conducted voluntary interviews with 20 of the 57 foreign workers who were repatriated before they left Singapore.

An investigation team from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has also been appointed to conduct investigations into the possible causes of the riot which took place on December 8, and other areas under the terms of reference.

The investigation team began investigations on December 26, 2013.

It has, to date, spoken to various witnesses including police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers, residents and shopkeepers in Little India, as well as the bus driver and time-keeper involved in the incident.

The findings will be presented to the COI chairman and members at the public hearing.

At the conclusion of the public hearing, the COI will consider the evidence presented before it submits a report of its proceedings, findings and recommendations to the Home Affairs Minister. 

The Little India riot was the first riot Singapore has experienced in about 40 years.

The incident was believed to have been triggered when an Indian national was knocked down by a private bus.

He died at the scene, and within minutes, a mob of about 400 converged.

They overturned and torched police vehicles and an ambulance.

The COI to look into the incident was formed five days after the riot.

Among the COI's term of reference is to establish the circumstances that led to the riot and consider whether current measures to manage such incidents, where foreign workers congregate, are adequate.

The committee said its job is not to determine civil or criminal liability.

But it said this will not stop it from making recommendations, based on what investigations uncover.  - CNA/nd

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