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Singapore to deport foreign workers over 'Little India' riot

By Sophie Brown, CNN
updated 4:42 AM EST, Wed December 18, 2013
Firemen douse a charred ambulance in the early hours of December 9, 2013, after a fatal traffic accident sparked a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
Firemen douse a charred ambulance in the early hours of December 9, 2013, after a fatal traffic accident sparked a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
  • Singapore will repatriate South Asian workers involved in a riot in the Little India district
  • Another 28 people who attacked emergency crews and vehicles have been charged, police say
  • Authorities are investigating the traffic accident that sparked the riot

(CNN) -- Singapore plans to deport dozens of foreign workers who were involved in the country's first major riot in more than 40 years, authorities said Tuesday.

Some 52 Indian citizens and a Bangladeshi national will be sent home soon for their role in an attack on emergency services crews and their vehicles after a fatal traffic accident in Singapore's Little India district earlier this month, according to the police commissioner, Ng Joo Hee.

Most of the 53 individuals, who were being held in prison on Tuesday, have been in Singapore for less than five years, Ng said in a statement. About half are construction workers.

"They have been served with stern police warnings and immigration removal orders, and will be repatriated to their home countries shortly," Ng said.

Another 28 people, who were directly involved in the violence, have been charged and could face up to seven years in prison and caning.

"They were violent, they had attacked uniformed personnel and vehicles, damaged property, and had incited others to do so," said the police commissioner.

Charges against seven more people will be dropped, he added.

The riot broke out among a crowd of hundreds of people on December 8, shortly after a bus ran over a 33-year-old Indian man.

According to Singaporean authorities, the mob set fire to vehicles, hurled objects and attacked rescue crews as they attempt to recover the man's body.

Around 200 foreign workers who were at the scene of the attack but did not directly participate will be issued an advisory, and will be allowed to stay in Singapore, "on condition of continued good behavior," Ng said Tuesday.

Police do not expect to make many more arrests, charges or repatriations over the incident, he added.

An investigation into the accident that sparked the riot is ongoing.

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