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Little India Riot COI: Auxiliary police officer clarifies that he had not "arrested" four men

Published on Feb 26, 2014 4:47 PM
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Auxiliary police officer Srisivasangkar Subramaniam, a Malaysian national, testified on the fifth day of a public hearing into the 8 December 2013 riot by the Committee of Inquiry (COI), on Feb 25, 2014. An auxiliary police officer on Wednesday, Feb 26, 2014, clarified a statement which said that he had personally "arrested" four rioters during the Little India riot on Dec 8 last year. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

An auxiliary police officer on Wednesday clarified a statement which said that he had personally "arrested" four rioters during the Little India riot on Dec 8 last year.

Speaking before the Committee of Inquiry (COI) convened to look into the riot, Certis Cisco constable Srisivasangkar Subramaniam, 22, said that he had "caught", rather than "arrested" the four who had been pelting beer bottles, by dragging them from Kerbau Road to where police officers were positioned on Race Course Road.

At the time, the police concentrated on controlling the unruly mob, and Mr Srisivasangkar said that he was unsure if the police had even seen him arriving on the scene, or taking custody of the four men. Mr Srisivasangkar suggested the use of the word "arrest" came about due to his poor command of languages while recording his statement.

The constable said: "I did not go to Tamil school and I'm not very fluent in Tamil and in Malay as well, so I will normally mix (the two languages)," he said, through a Tamil interpreter.

When State Counsel John Lu asked him if he considered himself having "formally arrested the four Indian workers", the constable replied: "No."

This was because the proper procedure for arrests was not followed, the court heard. Mr Srisivasangkar said he had not informed the four that he was going to arrest them. Neither did he explain the offence that was committed, nor taken down their particulars of the four men whom he said he dragged "one at a time"

COI chairman G. Pannir Selvam then remarked: "You must be Superman if you handled all of them at the same time."