Indian national involved in Little India riot given 15 weeks jail, first to be sentenced

The aftermath of the little india riot.

Chinnappa Vijayaragunatha Poopathi, who was originally accused of rioting, pleaded guilty last Friday to an amended charge of continuing to be in an assembly after it had been ordered to disperse under Section 151 of the Penal Code.


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First guilty plea in Little India riot

SINGAPORE - A 32-year-old Indian national has become the first man to plead guilty for his role in last December's Little India riot.

Chinnappa Vijayaragunatha Poopathi, who was originally accused of rioting, last Friday admitted his guilt to an amended charge of continuing in an assembly after it had been ordered to disperse under Section 151 of the Penal Code.

He now faces up to two years in jail and/or a fine during his sentencing, which has been set for Monday, as opposed to seven years and caning for rioting.

This is believed to be the first time that Section 151 has been invoked in Singapore.

More details of the Dec 8 riot, which led to 25 men being charged, were also revealed during Chinnappa's hearing. Court documents now show that an Indian national, whose death sparked the riot, "appeared to be drunk and... removed his bermuda shorts" before being told to alight from a bus ferrying workers back to their dormitories.

The 33-year-old man, Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, was then run over by the bus and killed. The accident, at around 9.15pm, pulled in a crowd. This grew into a riot in which 49 Home Team officers were injured.

Earlier that day, Chinnappa, a construction worker earning $22 a day, had gone to Serangoon Road to meet another Indian worker, 23-year-old Singaravelu Vignesh, who was also arrested later.

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