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Bus accident triggers riot in Singapore

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Originally published on December 9, 2013

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More details have emerged about the riots that broke out in Singapore's "Little India" district on Sunday (December 8) after a bus reversed and fatally struck an Indian migrant worker who had been booted off the bus.

At least a dozen were injured and 27 arrested after the violence broke out near Race Course Road in Singapore's "Little India" at around 9:30 PM in the worst rioting to hit the city in over 40 years.

Reports say an altercation occurred when an Indian immigrant worker, who is believed to have been drunk, dropped his pants while aboard a bus transporting workers to dormitories. After he was forced to alight, the bus was reversed into the worker, knocking him down and pinning him under the its left rear wheel.

Following the accident and continuing into the evening, reports say as many as 400 ethnically-Indian men rioted, overturning two police cars. The rioters also destroyed private vehicles and set an ambulance on fire.

Police arrested 27 suspects and said at least 18 people, including police officers, suffered injuries. As of the early hours of Monday, police said the streets were mostly calm, but officers in riot gear continued to comb the area, searching for suspects.

Rioting in Singapore is rare, and carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail as well as a possible canning. This weekend's civil unrest marks the first time in 40 years that Singapore has seen street riots and Police commissioner Ng Joo Hee condemned the violence as "intolerable"

The Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said there was no justification for the unrest and condemned what he called the "destructive and criminal" behavior of the rioters. Prime Minister Lee also vowed to track down and punish all who may have been involved.
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