Little India Riot COI: Bus drivers decided 2 years ago not to ferry drunk workers

Taking the stand for first time on Thursday since the Committee of Inquiry (COI) into last year's Little India riot began the day before, the 38-year-old told the court that as a result, bus drivers decided among themselves about two years ago not to ferry drunk workers.


Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Riot accident unfolded in 26 seconds

SINGAPORE - An unfortunate combination of factors and just 26 seconds sealed the fate of Indian national Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, who unwittingly sparked off the Little India riot after he was run over and crushed by a bus on Dec 8.

The Committee of Inquiry (COI), set up to investigate the causes of the riot, heard yesterday that the construction worker was intoxicated and was chasing after the bus on a wet road surface. Furthermore, it was highly unlikely that the bus driver would have seen him. Senior consultant forensic scientist Michael Tay, the first among 117 witnesses to be called, said that there was "a possibility" that the 55-year-old bus driver, Mr Lee Kim Huat, could have seen the deceased in the first 10 seconds.

That is, if he had been looking at the screen which displayed the images from the four cameras on board the bus. Each of these images, however, would have been been just 4.3cm by 7.65cm large - slightly smaller than a Singapore identity card - and the driver would have had to look down rather than ahead, said Dr Tay, who was engaged by the police to determine factors such as the driver's line of sight, the bus' speed and the point of collision.

Dr Tay also said that it was impossible for the driver to have spotted the deceased during the four "critical seconds" just before the accident, due to the deceased's small size and the glare of the surrounding vehicles' headlights.

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