Little India Riot COI: Senior police officer at scene says team was "grossly outnumbered"
The first senior police officer at the scene of the fatal accident in Little India told the Committee of Inquiry on Tuesday that the police was "grossly outnumbered" against an increasingly boisterous crowd that was about 200-strong.
Assistant Superintendent of Police Jonathan Tang said at the public hearing that he arrived at the scene at about 9.40pm with another officer. He explained that he did not immediately make any arrests as his main mission then was to form a human barrier.
The human barrier formed by him and five other officers was to give rescuers the space and time to extricate the body of the accident victim and to ensure the safety of the occupants of the bus that seemed to be the focus of the rioters. This even as the officers and bus were being pelted with stones, glass bottles and other objects by the mob.
"We would deal with them later... It's not that we didn't want to deal with these fellows," said ASP Tang, 28, referring to the men in the crowd who were "active rioters". "But to deal with them meant splitting my manpower and I had judged that my main mission was to help (the Singapore Civil Defence Force rescuers) extricate the body.