Bus driver 'still in state of shock' after attack

He is being investigated for causing death by a negligent act

PEOPLE threw stones at her father. They smashed glass onto him, leaving him with injuries to his head, arms, back and legs.

"If you were attacked by so many people this way, wouldn't you be in shock?" said the daughter of the driver of the bus at the centre of the riot, in a brief phone interview with The Straits Times yesterday.

"My father can still walk and my mum is taking care of him, but he is still shaken by the incident," added the teenager, who declined to be named.

The 55-year-old driver, whom his daughter identified as Mr Lim, had been ferrying foreign workers from Race Course Road back to their dormitories in Tuas for years, said his colleagues at transport company BT&Tan Transport yesterday.

They know him as Ah Huat and described him as a quiet man who kept mostly to himself.

"Ah Huat has been with the company for over 10 years. It is the first time that such an incident has happened," said a co-worker who declined to be identified.

"We were all so shocked when we came to work this morning and found out the driver is from our company," he added.

He said that even though he and Mr Lim have been with the company for more than 10 years, they rarely meet as they spend most of their time on the road.

He added: "Not everyone would want to ferry foreign workers from Little India as they can be rowdy."

Mr Lim was discharged from hospital yesterday afternoon and was arrested.

He is being investigated for causing death by a negligent act and has been released on bail.

When contacted, his company's secretary, Ms Neo Poh Hiok, declined to comment on the incident. She would only say that Mr Lim "is well and resting at home".

The bus Mr Lim drove had allegedly hit Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

The accident sparked a riot in Little India by 400 people, who burnt emergency vehicles and injured dozens of Home Team officers.

Yesterday morning, a man who declined to be named was at Singapore General Hospital's mortuary to identify Mr Sakthivel's body. He said the dead man had been working in Singapore as a construction worker with Heng Hup Soon, a scaffolding company, for about two years.

A spokesman for India's Ministry of External Affairs said Mr Sakthivel was from the district of Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu.

The Indian High Commission in Singapore has got in touch with the family and is working out the procedure for repatriation of the body.