SINGAPORE, Dec. 10 -- 24 persons, all Indian nationals, will be charged in court on Tuesday afternoon due to involvement in the riot in Singapore's Little India that happened on Sunday night, the police said early on Tuesday morning.
The police arrested 27 subjects initially, and arrested another one on Monday. The police said after investigation, four of them were not involved in the riot and they were released from police custody.
The riot involving some 400 South Asian workers broke out on Sunday evening after a fatal traffic accident in which a worker from India was knocked down by a private bus at Little India, a district known for its distinctively Indian culture.
The police have classified the traffic incident as Causing Death by Negligent Act and had arrested the driver of the private bus, who may face a jail term of up to two years. The driver is out on bail now, pending further investigations.
The subsequent incident was classified as Rioting with Dangerous Weapons. The 24 persons are expected to be charged with rioting and vandalism.
Early investigation showed that the deceased 33-year-old construction worker, named Sakthivel Kumaravelu, had boarded the private bus, which was ferrying foreign workers to their dormitory.
According to the police, the deceased worker was then drunk and causing trouble when he was on the private bus. Since the bus was full, the bus driver asked for assistance from a Singaporean woman who was responsible for checking the arrival and departure times of the buses.
The woman managed to get Sakthivel off. When the driver was making a left turn, he heard a loud bang on the left side of his bus. Sakthivel was then knocked down underneath the bus.
The police said during a conference on Monday afternoon that some officers arrived at the scene about 17 minutes after a call was made reporting the accident. The Singapore Civil Defense officers tried to extricate the body of the victim from underneath the bus, but their efforts were hindered by the crowd that became hostile.
At around 10:00 p.m. local time, the situation was out of control. The rioters began to use stones, bottles, dustbins and other implements to damage the bus, as well as responding emergency vehicles.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday that a committee of inquiry will be set up to investigate the cause of the rare riot.
It was the biggest riot in Singapore in some 40 years, as the city state has been known as one of the safest cities. 22 police officers, 12 Singapore Civil Defense Force officers and five auxiliary police officers were injured in the incident.