Little India riot: Repatriation of 53 workers under way

Little India riot: Repatriation of 53 workers under way
Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam visits a dormitory for workers at Terusan Lodge in Jurong on December 17.

The repatriation of 53 migrant workers involved in the Dec 8 riot in Little India has begun.

The men, all Indian nationals except for one Bangladeshi, are being sent home in groups starting on Thursday, The Straits Times learnt.

Some of the men have met members of the Committee of Inquiry appointed to look into the cause of the incident and make recommendations.

Panel member John De Payva said that on Wednesday, the committee interviewed 16 of the 53 workers who were being held at the Admiralty West Prison, an immigration depot.

"We asked them to volunteer, and we had 16 who stepped forward. We've spoken to all 16," said the president emeritus of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) on Thursday.

Mr De Payva, however, declined to reveal details of the interviews, citing the ongoing inquiry.

The actions of the 53 workers during the riot ranged from obstructing the police to failing to obey police orders to disperse, police investigations showed.

They were deemed to have posed a threat to the safety and security of Singapore - conditions that allow the authorities to deport and ban them from entering the country again under laws such as the Immigration Act.

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