The riots sparked intense discussion over Singapore's policy on
foreign labor, which now makes up a fifth of a population of nearly
5.4 million. Many citizens are increasingly irked by the growing
numbers of foreign workers.
The 53 people, all Indian but for one Bangladeshi, are in prison and
will be barred from returning to Singapore after being sent home
soon, the police said in statements on Tuesday.
Charges against seven people would be dropped, taking to 28 the
total number of foreign workers charged with rioting. These 28, all
Indians, could face up to 7 years in prison and caning.
An additional 200 people will be issued an advisory by the police
and allowed to stay in Singapore, the police added.
Police do not expect to make many more arrests or repatriations as
they wind up their probe, barely 10 days after the riot.
On December 8, a crowd of around 400 set vehicles ablaze and clashed
with police after an Indian worker died in a traffic accident in the
Little India precinct, where thousands of workers from the
sub-continent gather on Sundays to shop and socialize.
The government banned the sale of alcohol in the area last weekend,
and suspended shuttle bus services that bring in foreign workers
from dormitories, often located in far-flung parts of the island.
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The government said it would stick to its policy on foreign labor.
"They (foreign workers) come here to earn a living and support their
families in their home countries. In the process they contribute to
Singapore by supplementing our need for workers," Deputy Prime
Minister Teo Chee Hean said in comments prepared for a news briefing
"Those who are law-abiding do not need to worry. They should carry
on with their work and activities as usual," added Teo, who is also
home affairs minister.
(Reporting by Rujun Shen; editing by Clarence Fernandez)
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