Hundreds of foreign workers rioted in Singapore overnight, burning emergency service vehicles and clashing with police in the first major civil disturbance in the island state since the 1960s.
About 400 people surrounded a bus which had struck and killed an Indian national near the district known as Little India, a popular curry restaurant area.
Singapore is considered one of the most politically and economically stable countries in the world with a low crime rate and high education and health standards.
The 5 million people of Singapore rely heavily on imported foreign workers in the construction industry and for domestic help.
More than 25,000 Australian citizens live in Singapore, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Five vehicles including three police cars and a civil defence ambulance were reported burnt.
Police said 27 South Asians have been arrested as investigations continue.
There were 18 casualties including 10 police officers, four Singapore Civil Defence Force personnel and the Singaporean bus driver.
Six people were still in hospital but their condition was reported as not serious.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called thee Little India riot a very grave incident.
“Several police officers were injured, and vehicles damaged or destroyed,” he wrote on Facebook. “The situation is now under control, and investigations are underway.”
He urged all Singaporeans to stay calm.
“Do send the Police any information, photos or videos of the incident that you may have. I also wish the injured officers a full and speedy recovery. Whatever events may have sparked the rioting, there is no excuse for such violent, destructive, and criminal behaviour. We will spare no effort to identify the culprits and deal with them with the full force of the law.”
Social media was alive with amazement that Singapore could have a riot.
“Never thought I would witness a riot in Singapore in my lifetime,” said HuiYan Awyong on Twitter.
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