A second Indian national, who has worked in Singapore less than a year, is to plead guilty under charges for rioting here last December. Singaravelu Vignesh, a 23-year-old construction worker, was originally charged with rioting in the Little India precinct here and faced jail term of up to seven years and canning.
Vignesh's lawyer M Lukshumayeh said his client would plead guilty under an amended charge of continuing in an assembly that was ordered to disperse after the December 8 riot. "My client has accepted the prosecution's offer and will plead guilty on Monday," The Straits Times today quoted Lukshumayeh as saying after a pre-trial conference held yesterday.
The amended charge under Section 151 of the Penal Code could mean a penalty of up to two years in jail and/or a fine. Vignesh was arrested on the night of the riot and has been on remand since. He was arrested with his friend Chinnappa Vijayaragunatha Poopathi, 32, demanding drinks from a canteen in Little India, a precinct of Indian origin businesses, eateries and pubs, on the night of the riot.
Poopathi had pleaded guilty last Friday and was jailed for 15 weeks on Monday under Section 151, a charge amended from the serious rioting case. Both Poopathi and Vignesh had refused to leave the canteen when ordered by police to disperse following the riot.
The Singapore daily cited Court documents as reporting that both men "shouted at the canteen employees, demanding they reopen the shops and sell alcohol to them, further heightening tensions."
A pre-trial conference has been set for the cases of 23 other Indian nationals arrested relating to rioting in the Little India, a precinct of Indian origin businesses, eateries and pubs. Some 400 migrant workers from South Asia rioted on December 8 after an Indian national died in a bus accident at a bus pickup point in the area, leaving 43 officers injured and 24 vehicles damaged.