|Singapore police round up more foreign workers and question 4,000 in riot inquiry
Singapore police have questioned nearly 4,000 foreign workers in a widening crackdown following the first riot in more than 40 years on Sunday night, officials confirmed.
Three more Indian nationals have been detained and will be charged later today with rioting, in addition to 24 Indians who were charged in court a day earlier with the same offense, which is punishable by up to seven years in jail and caning. Their charges were read out in court in Tamil.
A police spokeswoman told AFP, so far, 176 men had been taken to a police complex to have their statements recorded. Their nationalities were not disclosed
Four men hauled up on Tuesday were released after investigations showed they did not participate in the riot, while another was released on bail.
The hour-long riot on Sunday night, triggered when an Indian construction worker was struck and killed by a private bus in the Little India district, left 39 police and civil defense staff injured. Also, 25 vehicles, including 16 police cars were damaged or set aflame by the estimated 400 South Asian migrant workers in the Indian enclave called Little India.
The 55-year-old Singaporean bus driver who knocked down and killed Indian construction worker Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, has been released on bail after being charged with causing death by a negligent act.
Activists have urged authorities to investigate whether the violence indicated wider discontent among poorly paid migrant workers.
Interior Minister Teo Chee Hean said police had increased their presence in foreign worker dormitories and places where they congregate.
“Investigations will continue so that all those who have broken the law will be dealt with strictly, firmly and fairly in accordance with the law,'' Teo, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said in a statement late Tuesday.
There are nearly 700,000 foreign workers holding “work-permits,’’ allowing them to work in certain sectors such as construction and shipping for two-year periods, subject to renewal, according to official data.