Little India riot: He was the eye in the storm

Little India riot: He was the eye in the storm

SINGAPORE- When he took out his camera phone to film what he thought was a row between foreign workers, he had no inkling he was capturing a piece of history - Singapore's first riot in almost 50 years.

From his vantage point near The Banana Leaf Apolo restaurant, where he works as a car valet, Mr Chia Boon Juay, 25, was in the thick of the mob fury after a fatal bus accident on Race Course Road in Little India on Sunday night.

A 57-second video showing rioters attacking the private bus that had run over Indian foreign worker Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, went viral after Mr Chia's girlfriend, Miss Berlinda Tan, 25, uploaded it on Facebook that night. The video was soon re-posted online, including on YouTube.

When The New Paper spoke to Mr Chia yesterday, a tinge of excitement was evident in his voice as he recounted the events on Sunday.

He said: "It was about 9pm and there were not many cars left to be collected.

"I heard a commotion on the road and told my partner that I would go over to see what's going on."

Mr Chia said he thought it was just a row between foreign workers but what he saw shocked him - a group of men smashing the bus with bottles and other objects.

"All the aggression seemed to be directed at the bus driver and the woman on the bus," said Mr Chia, who instinctively took out his camera phone and started filming.

His first thought was to get Miss Tan, who had dropped by to visit him at work as she was in the area with her friend, to safety.

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