Little India Riot: Four more Indian nationals deported

Four more Indian nationals involved in the Little India riot were sent home last night, taking the total number of workers deported over the Dec 8 incident to 57.

The men added to the list yesterday had initially been charged in court with rioting. Those charges were dropped on Tuesday but their involvement in the mayhem was deemed serious enough for repatriation, said the police.

The other 53, whose actions ranged from obstructing the police to failing to obey police orders to disperse during the riot, were never charged. But they were deemed to have posed a threat to the safety and security of Singapore - conditions that allow the authorities to deport and ban them from entering the country again under the Immigration Act.

The 57 - all Indian nationals except for one Bangladeshi - were served with immigration removal orders and deported in groups starting on Thursday. This was done after they were issued stern police warnings.

The latest development marks the end of the repatriation operation arising from the probe into unrest in the Indian enclave, said Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee yesterday.

There remain, however, around 200 other foreign workers who were called up by police to assist in investigations but who have yet to be dealt with. They will be issued with police advisories tomorrow morning, said Mr Ng.

He added that while a police warning is usually issued "in place of prosecution" and indicates that an offence may have been committed, an advisory is given to those who have not committed offences, and face no further action.

Mr Ng said those set to receive the police advisories had played "a passive and incidental" role during the riot, compared with the ones who have been deported.

Three other Indian nationals, who had charges against them dropped as well, will be issued with advisories together with the 200-odd other workers. All of them will be allowed to stay and work in Singapore, said Mr Ng.

Their employers, who will be notified by today, will have to be present with the workers when they receive the advisories.

"The advice is given to the guest worker, so he has to acknowledge that he has received it," said Mr Ng, adding that the advisory will be given both orally and in written form. "We want the employer to be present as a witness."

Meanwhile, the 28 charged with rioting are set to return to court on Monday after being remanded for investigations.

The Committee of Inquiry, appointed to look into the cause of the riot, has also started work.

Mr Ng said that the panel, heading by retired Supreme Court judge G.P. Selvam, has met 20 of the deported workers, including the four sent home last night.

The commissioner also reiterate that restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol in Little India will be in place from this weekend.

"Police officers will be present to enforce the order, and will act resolutely should they come across breaches and violations."

yanliang@sph.com.sg

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