Deporting foreigners 'provided for in the law', says Deputy Commissioner of Police

Laws such as the Immigration Act empower the authorities here to deport foreigners deemed to have posed a threat to the safety and security of Singapore.

"These 53 persons by their actions, by what they have done, satisfy the conditions," Deputy Commissioner of Police T. Raja Kumar said yesterday.

He was addressing the issue of due process with regard to a planned repatriation of 53 migrant workers over their involvement in the Dec 8 riot. "So, the assessment has been made and the removal order has been given for them to be repatriated back to their countries," he said. "This is provided for in the law."

Mr Raja Kumar's comments came after civil society group Workfair Singapore said they appealed to the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants over the deportation of the workers.

They include 52 Indian nationals and one from Bangladesh.

Mr Raja Kumar also addressed allegations made by a few of the suspected rioters in court on Tuesday of assault by police officers during their detention.

He said the police take a serious view of all complaints, each of which will be investigated.

"If criminal charges are disclosed, the police will not hesitate to take criminal action against the officer concerned," he said.

"However, if the allegations are found to be false, appropriate action, in accordance with our laws, will be taken against any persons who have furnished false information to the police."

Mr Raja Kumar was speaking to the media yesterday at a briefing on the alcohol ban in Little India. On the same day, two alleged rioters were ordered to be remanded for an additional week to assist in ongoing investigations into the violence on Dec 8.

The case against Indian nationals Moorthy Kabildev, 24, and Sathiyamoorthy Sivaraman, 26, will be heard again on Monday.

To date, a total of 28 Indian nationals face charges for their involvement in the riot, which was sparked by a fatal accident at the junction of Race Course Road and Tekka Lane. The India High Commission said yesterday that the families of the men who have been charged for rioting are being kept abreast of the situation.

The Law Society said in a statement that of the 28 workers, individual pro bono defence counsel will be assigned to 26 of them under its Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS).

The remaining two have already engaged their own counsel.

Responding to further queries from The Straits Times, a spokesman said more than 30 lawyers responded to a call for pro bono volunteers to represent the accused persons in what is expected to be a high-profile hearing.

"Given the number of accused in this particular issue, the number of volunteer lawyers who have come forward is comparable to the usual CLAS' call for volunteers," he said, adding that there were some who came forward specifically for this matter.