Convicted Little India rioter gets 30 months jail and 3 strokes of the cane

A former construction worker has been sentenced to 30 months’ jail and three strokes of the cane for rioting and setting a bus on fire in Little India last year.

Ramalingam Sakthivel, 33, is the first man to have pleaded guilty and sentenced for rioting on Dec 8, last year.

Sakthivel had rallied other rioters around him in Race Course Road to flip over a police vehicle. The Indian national had also repeatedly hit a Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulance with a pole. Sakthivel also tried to set a bus on fire by throwing burning items into its fuel gas inlet.

The bus, which was meant to ferry foreign workers back to their dorms from Little India that night, had knocked down another Indian worker, Sakthivel Kumaravelu.

Deputy Presiding Judge Jennifer Marie said Sakthivel was no meek follower and that he had rallied others to join in the mayhem that night. She said Sakthivel, who shouted at police officers and threw a glass bottle in their direction, had displayed an open hostility against the law enforcers.

As such, the sentence should not just punish criminal behaviour but also protect public interest, the judge added.

Sakthivel’s sentence would be backdated to Dec 8, the day he was remanded. His lawyer, Mr Justin Tan from Trident Law Corporation, described the sentence as “fair”.

He said that his client will not be appealing against his sentence.

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