News

He defies orders to disperse

He was walking with a friend in Little India at around 11pm on Dec 8 when police told him to leave.

He ignored them and continued walking with his friend towards Kodai Canteen, a foodcourt at the junction of Kerbau Road and Chander Road.

Construction worker Chinnappa Vijayaragunatha Poopathi, 32, and Singaravelu Vignesh, 23, did not disperse even after they encountered the Special Operations Command (SOC) on Chander Road.

Yesterday, Chinnappa became the first man to plead guilty in court to his involvement in the Little India riot.

The Indian national was charged with rioting on Dec 10 last year, but it was amended to the current charge yesterday.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sellakumaran Sellamuthoo said the two men soon joined about 10 others at Kodai Canteen anddemanded that the employees sell them alcohol.

The employees at the eatery asked them to leave as they were closed for the night, but the pair refused to budge, shouting at them.

ARREST

Police officers soon turned up at the foodcourt to arrest those who had defied earlier commands to disperse.

DPP Sellakumaran told Deputy Chief District Judge S Jennifer Marie that the two men attempted to flee the scene in separate directions. They were arrested on Kerbau Road.

DPP Sellakumaran urged the judge to sentence Chinnappa to at least four to six months' jail.

He said that the only reported incident involving the same charge was in a 1924 Indian case. He also stressed that the charge is serious as it is "vitally important for the police to bring the riot under control quickly".

"Any refusal to disperse risks prolonging the riot and further violence being committed," added DPP Sellakumaran.

Chinnappa's lawyer Sunil Sudheesan asked for his client to be jailed for about three months.

He said: "(Chinnappa) was unaware of the extent of the incident that had taken place at Little India."

Judge Jennifer Marie has adjourned the case to Monday.