Little India Riot: 23-year-old construction worker pleads guilty for his role in the unrest

A riot involving almost 400 people broke out in Little India along Race Course Road on Dec 8, 2013. A second man on Monday morning pleaded guilty for his role in the Little India riot. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
A riot involving almost 400 people broke out in Little India along Race Course Road on Dec 8, 2013. A second man on Monday morning pleaded guilty for his role in the Little India riot. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

A second man on Monday morning pleaded guilty for his role in the Little India riot.

Construction worker Singaravelu Vignesh, 23, who was initially charged with rioting, admitted to an amended charge of "continuing in an assembly after it was ordered to disperse" under Section 151 of the Penal Code.

The charge against the Indian national was amended after the case was reviewed by the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC). This means Singaravelu could be jailed for up to two years and/or be given a fine under section 151 of the Penal Code, instead of rioting which carries a sentence of up to seven years jail and caning.

His case is set to be only the second time that Section 151 will be invoked here - the first being when his friend and fellow construction worker, Chinnappa Vijayaragunatha Poopathi, became the first to be sentenced among 25 Indian nationals charged for the Dec 8 riot on Race Course Road. Singaravelu is expected to be sentenced later in the afternoon.

The Straits Times understands that Singaravelu is his family's sole breadwinner and had worked in Singapore for less than a year to support his mother and sister in India. He was arrested on the night of the riot and has been in remand since.

According to court documents from Chinnappa's hearing, the pair were together on the night of Dec 8 and ignored calls by the authorities for people to disperse as they entered the area of the riot at around 11pm.

Chinnappa, 32, pleaded guilty on Feb 7 and was sentenced to 15 weeks in prison last week. Pre-trial conferences have been set for the cases against the other 23 Indian nationals facing rioting charges.

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