LITTLE INDIA RIOTS

"I AM STILL SCARED OF LITTLE INDIA"

The permanent resident from Malaysia breaks into a smile when Insight notes that the scar on her left brow is barely noticeable. "I used this ointment recommended to me by Mr Sitoh Yih Pin. It's really effective," she says, referring to the MP for Potong Pasir.

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POLICE WANT TO STOP SALES OF BOTTLED BEER AT TEKKA

Ms Rizwana Sahul Hameed, 25, who works at Coral Retreat and Holidays in Dunlop Street, said business has been up 60 per cent since the ban started. "There are more locals and families walking in and making reservations because it's quieter and not as crowded as before," she said.

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FOREIGN ACADEMICS: INTEGRATE WITH FOREIGN WORKERS TO AVOID FRICTION SEEN IN LITTLE INDIA RIOTS

The cultural divide between foreign workers and local service providers and law enforcement should be bridged in order to avoid the kind of friction that contributed to the riot in Little India last Dec 8, said academics. Trust should be developed among workers that most officers' genuine intention is to mete out justice and, on the other hand, those who interact with migrant workers must be trained to be sensitive to cultural differences and to treat workers with respect.

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LAWYER M RAVI: THE RIOTERS CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY ME

Why has he changed his mind now? Mr Ravi admitted that while costs was one of the reasons he was discharging himself from the Little India riot cases, it was not the primary one. "If these clients can pay me as well, I can take an additional lawyer to organise my resources... My primary consideration is not legal fees, but whether they are getting legal aid," he said. The activist lawyer is also representing blogger Roy Ngerng, who is being sued by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for defamation. Mr Ngerng has already raised more than $110,000 for his defence, which will go towards legal fees, research and filing fees.

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Little India riot: Accused has case to answer

The first man who claimed trial over his alleged role in the Little India riot last December has failed in his bid to have his case thrown out of court. Mahalingam Thavamani is accused of obstructing Deputy Superintendent of Police N Subramaniam from dispersing the crowd near the scene of the riot on the night of Dec 8. The 27-year-old Indian national’s lawyers had made a “no case to answer” submission.

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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.

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Lawyer M Ravi: Secure Release of Innocent Tamils Jailed in Singapore

Expressing concern over the plight of the Tamils arrested in connection with the Little India riots in December last year, M Ravi, an Indian-born Human Rights lawyer in Singapore, has sought the intervention of the Centre to secure the release of those still languishing in Singapore jails. Ravi rued that neither the Indian Embassy nor the Centre raised any concern against the atrocities of the Singapore government, which arrested more than 70 Tamil people in Little India. Those arrested were booked for causing the two-hour riot and damaging public property. Ravi, who according to sources, has been fighting to get these workers released from jail, said that of the 79 workers arrested, 53 were deported to Tamil Nadu after the charges against them were cleared. However, the rest of the innocent helpless workers are still under custody without any evidence, he stated.

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Little India COI: Vincent Wijeysingha takes the stand

It wasn’t just the hazy morning which drove me to the air-conditioned COI courtroom. It was the fact that Vincent Wijeysingha would be giving evidence. Now this is the man who complained about the Attorney-General’s Office being appointed to lead evidence. His thesis: How can the G’s lawyer be independent enough to lead evidence at a hearing which might hurt the G? So there I was at Court 13, expecting fireworks. What will Vincent W say? Will he be given a fair shake?

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Little India COI: We DO have a hero. Yay!

Finally, we have a police officer who threw caution to the wind and decided to “engage’’ the rioters. Sergeant Fadli, just 27, a traffic cop, charged the crowd three times until he was told by his supervisor to stop. Or he would have continued charging. He said he would actually have made the crowd move towards Buffalo Road instead of driving them into the Little India MRT station which his earlier efforts resulted in. So he was also thinking furiously at the time….

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