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Indian man pleads guilty in Singapore riot case

Posted on Feb 07 2014 | IANS

Singapore, Feb 7 : The first of the 25 Indian nationals accused of taking part in Dec 8, 2013, riots in this city state pleaded guilty Friday.

Chinnappa Vijayaragunatha Poopathi, 32, a construction worker, pleaded guilty Friday to an amended charge of failing to disperse, the Today Online reported.

Chinnappa will be sentenced Monday and faces a jail term of up to two years and a fine.

He was initially charged with rioting, which carries a maximum penalty of up to seven years in jail and caning.

The charge was amended after the Singapore attorney-general's chambers considered factors of his involvement in the riot.

The court heard that Chinnappa and a friend had bought beer from a shop, consumed it and later proceeded to Chander Road in Little India to have a chat that particular day.

The pair decided to go to a food court called Kodai Canteen located at the junction of Kerbau Road and Chander Road around 11 p.m.

The court heard that, as they were walking along Chander Road near where the riot first broke out, they saw people running away from the direction of the food court that they had decided to go.

Ignoring advice not to go in that direction, Chinnappa and his friend continued moving towards the canteen, despite seeing Special Operations Command (SOC) personnel, armed with batons and shields, along Chander Road trying to disperse people.

When Chinnappa and his friend entered the food court, they joined a group of about 10 people there and police arrested them.

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