Fatal crash sparks riots in Singapore

Riot policemen watch burning vehicles during a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
Riot policemen watch burning vehicles during a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
Riot policemen stand guard near a burning vehicle during a riot Singapore's Little India district on December 8, 2013. A crowd set fire to vehicles and clashed with police in the Indian district of Singapore late on Sunday, in a rare outbreak of rioting in the city state.
Riot policemen stand guard near a burning vehicle during a riot Singapore's Little India district on December 8, 2013. A crowd set fire to vehicles and clashed with police in the Indian district of Singapore late on Sunday, in a rare outbreak of rioting in the city state.
A policeman patrols the streets.
A policeman patrols the streets.
Police officers look at two overturned police cars.
Police officers look at two overturned police cars.
A fire engine is parked next to the burnt remains of a vehicle along Race Course Road.
A fire engine is parked next to the burnt remains of a vehicle along Race Course Road.
A man walks past an ambulance damaged in a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
A man walks past an ambulance damaged in a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
A view shows damaged vehicles along a road.
A view shows damaged vehicles along a road.
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (front right) and Minister in Prime Minister's Office S Iswaran (front, second right) look at the site of two burnt vehicles following a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (front right) and Minister in Prime Minister's Office S Iswaran (front, second right) look at the site of two burnt vehicles following a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
A view from a high-rise flat shows two overturned police cars (centre) and several other damaged vehicles along Race Course Road following a riot near Singapore's Little India district. Local media said a mob of about 400 set fire to an ambulance and police cars during the riot.
A view from a high-rise flat shows two overturned police cars (centre) and several other damaged vehicles along Race Course Road following a riot near Singapore's Little India district. Local media said a mob of about 400 set fire to an ambulance and police cars during the riot.
Police detain men following the riot.
Police detain men following the riot.
Singapore's civil defence officers extinguish burning vehicles following a riot in Singapore's Little India district.
Singapore's civil defence officers extinguish burning vehicles following a riot in Singapore's Little India district.

A crowd has set fire to vehicles and clashed with police in the Indian district of Singapore in a rare outbreak of rioting in the city state.

The incident on Sunday night reportedly started after a private bus hit and killed a foreign worker in the Little India area. Television footage showed a crowd of people smashing the windscreen of a bus, and at least three police cars being flipped over.

Singapore Police Force said the riot started after a fatal traffic accident. "Shortly after, a riot broke out involving a crowd of about 400 subjects where the subjects damaged five police vehicles and one ambulance," it said in a statement, adding that about 10 police officers were injured.

Little India is usually packed with people on Sundays, with many construction workers from Bangladesh and India gathering there to spend their day off.

Incidents like this are rare in Singapore, which has tough laws on rioting that carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison and possible caning.

"This is a serious incident which has resulted in injuries and damage to public property," said Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs. "Police will spare no efforts to apprehend the subjects involved in the riot."

The breakout is likely to fuel concerns about discontent among low-paid foreign workers. Last year Singapore saw its biggest outbreak of labour unrest in years when around 170 bus drivers from mainland China went on strike illegally.

Footage on Channel NewsAsia showed at least two vehicles on fire and debris strewn across Racecourse Road, one of the main thoroughfares in Little India. Many other private cars were reported to have been damaged as well.

Police reported early this morning that the incident was under control.

AFTER THE STORM: A policeman patrols the streets following the outbreak of violence.
AFTER THE STORM: A policeman patrols the streets following the outbreak of violence.

Reuters