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Little India Riot COI: Police officers who managed ops rooms recount what happened

Published on Feb 26, 2014 12:30 PM
Police officers examine the wrecked private bus at the aftermath of the Little India riot in the early hours on Dec 9, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The radio operator at Police headquarters who received the first '999' call at 9.23pm on Dec 8 classified the incident as a road traffic accident based on the information received. The public hearing into the Little India riot on Wednesday heard from the police officers manning the operations rooms and counters on the night of the riot.

The Committee of Inquiry also heard that staff at the Tanglin Police Division Operations Room (DOR) had tried to contact Assistant Superintendent of Police Jonathan Tang - who was the first ground commander at the accident scene at 9.40pm that night - and only managed to reach him at 9.44pm, after multiple attempts.

"I asked him (ASP Tang) if he needed Special Operations Command's (SOC) assistance, and he informed me that it is required," said Senior Station Inspector (SSI) Neo Chee Cheng from the DOR, who briefed his Management Operations Officer and the Head of Operations and Training for Tanglin Division in the two minutes which followed. He then instructed his staff to activate the SOC.

However, approval to activate the SOC was given only at about 10.05pm, and SSI Neo was informed that two SOC troops would be sent to the location of the riot. He said he then informed ASP Tang that the SOC was on their way.