Worker was drunk when he got on bus: Witnesses

Worker was drunk when he got on bus: Witnesses
Inset: Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, was so drunk he could barely stand up straight, according to witnesses. Main photo: Some of the workers who took part in the riot were arrested.

SINGAPORE - Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, was so drunk he could barely stand up straight, according to witnesses.

When he was told to get off the bus that had come to take him and others back to their dormitory in Jurong as it was full, he dropped his pants in annoyance.

Citing two Bangladeshi eyewitnesses, Bengali newspaper Banglar Kantha editor A.K.M. Mohsin told The Straits Times the construction worker fell over at the junction of Race Course Road and Tekka Lane.

Shortly after, in front of a crowd of other workers, he was run over by the bus, operated by BT&Tan Transport.

The 55-year-old Singaporean driver, nicknamed Ah Huat, was turning onto Race Course Road when he heard a bang on the left side of the bus.

He got the timekeeper on board, Madam Wong Gek Woon, 38, to check what had happened.

From then on, the situation descended into chaos. A group set on Madam Wong when she got off the bus, initial investigations by the police showed. She was shepherded back on board by the South Asian passengers.

Shops shuttered and bystanders fled as the mob turned its attention on the bus with the victim still pinned underneath.

At 9.23pm, the police received the message: "A bus has knocked down someone here, ambulance required."

Not expecting anything more, the first to the scene, at 9.40pm, were two policemen from the Kampong Java Neighbourhood Police Centre and paramedics with the First Division of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

They were met by an unruly mob, which pelted the paramedics with objects while they worked to free the trapped man. The police immediately radioed for reinforcements.

The paramedics got his body out at about 10pm. At the same time, Special Operations Command (SOC) officers were being called in.

As more police arrived, the crowd grew more agitated, attacking them with dustbins and chairs, among others.

Eyewitness P. Kannan, who was at Little India MRT station, said: "Some lit beer bottles on fire and threw them at the police. I saw them throw more than 10 bottles."

 

 

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