Despite retracting the claim, however, Mr Thangaval Govindarasu, 38, an Indian national, insisted he was at the scene on Sunday, and that it was all a misunderstanding. He said that he had helped to ward off the rioters and assist the injured bus timekeeper, Madam Wong Geck Woon, to safety.
Get the full story from The Straits Times.
Amid the hurling of stones and slurs, one man was spotted on camera trying to fend off two rioters who were attacking a bus during Sunday night's Little India fracas.
But that was not his only act of courage on that horrific night, it has emerged.
The man, whose image has been making the rounds online, also pulled to safety a hapless woman caught in the first moments of the violence.
"If it were not for him, I would have been beaten to death," a teary-eyed Madam Wong Geck Woon told The Straits Times. The 38-year-old was on her shift that evening as a timekeeper for the buses that ferry foreign workers back to their dormitories. At around 9pm, she told Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, an Indian national construction worker, to get off a shuttle bus as it was already full. He staggered off the bus, but not before pulling down his trousers.
Moments after the bus moved off and made a left turn into Race Course Road, he was found pinned under one of its rear wheels. Madam Wong rushed to check what had happened to him, and that was when it turned ugly.
A sea of onlookers near the bus surged forward at the crushing sound of the accident. Within minutes, they began pelting stones, beer bottles and sticks at the vehicle's windscreen, according to Madam Wong.
The unknown Samaritan, who was wearing a plaid shirt, rushed from the crowd, shoved her up the steps of the bus and told the driver to lock the vehicle.