SINGAPORE - Officers in an ambulance, taking cover from projectiles during the Little India riot on Dec 8, were told by members of the unruly mob to run moments before the vehicle was torched.
"I shouted to the rioters, 'My medics have come here to help you'," said Staff Sergeant Yaacob Kamis on Day 19 of the Committee of Inquiry into the riot yesterday. "One of them shouted to me: 'You all run, you all run.'"
This exchange came after an overturned police vehicle directly in front of the ambulance was razed.
The eight officers on board spent about 10 seconds weighing their options before evacuating after the rear door of the ambulance was opened by rioters, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulance medical orderly of 29 years.
By that time, Staff Sgt Yaacob was already injured, with cuts on his right cheek and a swollen left finger. A projectile had shattered his driver's window earlier as he was attempting to reverse from the scene.
As he was seeking shelter at the back of the ambulance, a foreign worker climbed into the driver's seat and toyed with the engine switch.
An auxiliary police officer in the ambulance told the committee previously that he had heard the foreign worker say in Tamil: "I want you all to die today."
The officers ran towards Bukit Timah Road after exiting the ambulance.
Staff Sgt Yaacob said: "I saw one of the rioters take off his T-shirt, set it alight, then burn the ambulance. It happened in front of me. I was very sad."
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