Little India rioter gets 2 1/2 years' jail, 3 strokes

A Little India rioter responsible for some of the most "shocking" and "wanton" violence was sentenced to 2½ years in jail and three strokes of the cane yesterday.

Sarangan Kumaran, 36, is the third person to plead guilty to rioting and setting fire to property, and the 14th to be dealt with in relation to the Dec 8 mayhem, which erupted after an Indian national was run over and killed by a bus.

Sarangan was part of an unlawful assembly when he threw projectiles at the police and police vehicles, hurled a rubbish bin at a police car and hit a police motorcycle with a pole.

The construction worker's sentence is similar to that of fellow Indian national Ramalingam Sakthivel. The 33-year-old was the first to plead guilty to both charges on May 8.

Together with Ramalingam and a group of unknown men, Sarangan also threw various burning items into the bus.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan said Sarangan had spent two hours chatting with a friend and remitting money back home, before he saw a group of Indian nationals surrounding and hitting a bus as he walked towards Little India MRT station.

He joined the unlawful assembly to scold the police and throw various projectiles such as rocks, large concrete slabs, metal drain grilles, rubbish bins and beer bottles at them and their vehicles.

Mr Kumaresan said Sarangan was seen throwing a rock in the direction of an overturned police car.

He also threw a green plastic rubbish bin at its windscreen.

When he saw the police motorcycle lying on its side, he picked up a pole and hit it several times before walking away.

Minutes later, he returned to find that the motorbike had been set on fire, and danced around it before being pulled away. He then went back to the bus and set fire to it with Ramalingam and other rioters.

Mr Kumaresan told the court that apart from being a member of a riot that caused "the worst public order disturbance in Singapore", Sarangan "was an active participant in the destruction and carnage inflicted on the streets of Little India that night".

"Viewed in totality, the accused's actions were most shocking in their display of wanton violence, and his utter disregard for the authority of the police," said the DPP.

Sarangan's actions alone caused an estimated damage of $195,000.

A total of 23 emergency vehicles were damaged, including five which had been set on fire. Seven other private vehicles were also damaged.

District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim backdated his sentence to his remand on Dec 16 last year.

This article was first published on July 08, 2014.
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