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Little India riot: A look back at TNP's coverage

A year ago, a riot erupted in Little India.

The mayhem - the worst public disorder on Singapore soil in more than four decades - involved about 400 people.

The spark?

A fatal traffic accident a the junction of Race Course Road and Hampshire Road, which claimed the life of a foreign worker.

Construction worker Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, was asked to alight from a private bus after the drunk man jumped the queue.

He was chasing after the same bus when he fell and was run over.

The crowd's emotions ran high and spilled over against law enforcement officers on the ground that fateful night.

And The New Paper was there to capture the heat of the moment.

The pictures that executive photojournalist Jonathan Choo shot told a story of a night marred by chaos and confusion.




TNP Photo: Jonathan Choo

One particular picture (above), published on Dec 9 of The New Paper, was re-used many times by news outlets all over the world.

Mr Choo was taking pictures of the scene when several men became aware of his presence.

“There were about four men (who were) alerted to my presence after another turned around and signalled at me to stop shooting (pictures),” he said.

A rioter nearby tried to grab his camera, holding on to the strap. “I pulled free of him and ran as fast as I could down Hampshire Road,” he recalled.

As he was running, Mr Choo could hear stones hitting the wet ground around him.

“I stopped running after about 100m, when I reached the end of the road where a group of riot police were gathered," he added. "I was shaking, it felt like a life-and-death situation.”

The picture though was worth the close shave with danger.

It won a slew of awards, from the Society for News Design (SND) Excellence Award in March 2014 to the annual News Picture Of The Year at the Singapore Press Holdings’ English and Malay Newspapers Division (EMND) Awards.

It also nabbed the Society for News Design (SND) Excellence Award - widely considered the equivalent of the Academy Awards in news reporting. 

Continued coverage

TNP's coverage did not stop there.

The team reported on the Committee of Inquiry which was set up after the riot and examined the resultant findings

We also returned to the ground time and time again, to find out how the increase enforcement in Little India has affected those working, living and visiting in the area.

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