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Little India Riot COI: Officers on ambulance ran moments before it was torched

Published on Mar 18, 2014 2:03 PM
This ambulance was one of several vehicles which were set on fire during a riot that broke out in Little India on Dec 8, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG  

Officers on an ambulance, taking cover from raining projectiles during the Little India riot on Dec 8, were told by members of the unruly mob to run moments before the vehicle was torched.

"I shouted to the rioters, my medics have come here to help you," said Staff Sergeant Yaacob Kamis on Day 19 of the Committee of Inquiry into the riot on Tuesday. "One of them shouted to me: 'You all run, you all run'."

This exchange came after an overturned police vehicle directly in front of the ambulance was razed. The eight officers on board, comprising two traffic policemen, two Certis Cisco auxiliary officers (APO) and four SCDF officers, spent about 10 seconds weighing their options before evacuating after the rear door of the ambulance was opened by rioters, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) ambulance medical orderly of 29 years.

Among those on board was Traffic Police Station Inspector (SI) Muhammad Adil Lawi, who has told the committee that the decision to run, in a video that has come under much scrutiny online, was not an act of cowardice but because "the threat was very real". Deputy Commissioner of Police T. Raja Kumar had also praised SI Adil for being a "brave officer" who took charge under duress.

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