Singapore — Singapore deported four more Indian nationals Friday night for involvement in the Dec 8 Little India riot, bringing the total number of workers deported in the riot aftermath to 57.
The four men deported yesterday were initially charged with rioting in court, but those charges were dropped on Tuesday. But police said their involvement in the incident was considered serious enough for repatriation.
The other 53 were never charged, but their actions reportedly ranged from obstructing the police to failing to obey police orders to disperse during the riot. Having been deemed to have posed a threat to the safety and security of Singapore, they were deported and banned from entering the country again under the Immigration Act.
The 57, all of whom are Indian nationals except for one Bangladeshi, were deported in groups starting on Thursday after being served with immigration removal orders. Prior to this, they were issued stern police warnings.
Stern warnings are used for suspects who may have committed offences, but there may not be enough evidence to convict them in court. The decision to give a warning in lieu of prosecution is done on a case-by-case basis, according to reports.
Ng Joo Hee, commissioner of police, Singapore Police Force, explained: “It is not uncommon that police give warnings. But because the persons who received the warnings, in this case, are foreigners…So they are then deemed as undesirable immigrants in our country. And then there are powers that the state has, to proclaim someone a prohibited immigrant and to remove him from the country.”
Police said since no criminal charges are being brought against them in court, there is no need for a trial for those deemed “undesirable”.
The authorities make the decisions whether to charge, deport, or issue warnings based on the severity of offences committed based on the evidence.
Police said the repatriation operation arising from the investigations into the Little India riot has more or less come to an end with this latest group to be deported.