Construction worker first man to plead guilty to rioting in Little India

A 33-year-old construction worker has become the first of 25 men implicated in the Little India riot last December to plead guilty to rioting and committing mischief.

Ramalingam Sakthivel admitted to being part of an unlawful assembly at Little India on December 8 last year between 9.30pm and 10.50pm.

During the chaos, he threw various projectiles at police officers and police vehicles, flipped a police car and hit the Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulance with a pole.

The maximum penalty for rioting is a jail term of seven years and caning.

As for the second charge, Sakthivel admitted to throwing various burning items into a bus.

For this, he is looking at a jail term of up to seven years and a fine.

The prosecution has urged the court to impose a sentence of between 30 and 36 months’ jail and three to six strokes of the cane.

It made the point that the accused was “acutely aware that a serious situation had developed in Little India”.

The prosecution added that Sakthivel made the “conscious choice” to join the other rioters.

But the defence argued that in the five years Sakthivel has been here, he has never gotten on the wrong side of the law.

It pointed out that it was “out of character” for the accused to be involved in the riot and that Sakthivel was remorseful.

Sakthivel will be sentenced on May 8.

So far, six have been sentenced for failing to disperse, and one of the workers is on trial.

The cases of the remaining 17 are ongoing.

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