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Published: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 9:47:03 AM

Big crowds of foreign workers turn off Singaporeans, say business owners

Night of chaos: A man hurrying past a burning ambulance during the riot along Race Course Road. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

Night of chaos: A man hurrying past a burning ambulance during the riot along Race Course Road. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

SINGAPORE: Restaurants and shop owners along the Race Course Road which was the scene of the worst riot in the republic in decades are worried their businesses may suffer.

Sundry shop owner, K. Vellu, 51, said not a single customer visited his shop yesterday.

“I just don’t know how I am going to survive if this carries on,” he said.

“People are too afraid to come to this area and I do not blame them because there is no guarantee that such a riot will not happen again.”

Vellu added that his lorry and car were also slightly damaged by rioters who were seen throwing stones, bottles and sticks at policemen.

This photo made available by The New Paper on December 9, 2013 shows a South Asian man (L) being lead away by police after rioters went on a rampage in Singapore's Little India district late on December 8.  Hundreds of South Asian workers rioted in Singapore late on December 8 after being enraged by a fatal road accident, leaving 18 people injured and police vehicles burnt in the city-state's worst outbreak of violence in more than 40 years.      SINGAPORE OUT         AFP PHOTO/THE NEW PAPER/JONATHAN CHOO---- EDITORS NOTE ----- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE   MANDATORY CREDIT
Bloody episode: A policeman leading a South Asian man away after the riot. — AFP

“I was afraid that they would enter my shop so I quickly pulled down the shutters but we could still hear the explosions outside,” he said, adding that he hoped the Singapore government would take stern action to keep the area safe.

Hostel and restaurant owner S.R. Mahesh, 28, recounted how mobs of people were seen igniting beer bottles and throwing them at the police patrol cars in the area.

“It was a horrifying experience. Some of my customers were forced to put up the night in different hotels as they were not allowed to enter the area,” he said.

Another Indian restaurant manager Rangeel Singh, 45, said many locals preferred to stay away from the street due to the large crowds of foreigners, especially Indian nationals, who usually gather there on Sundays.

”They sit and gather on the pavements, on the fields, drinking, talking and catching up, but their numbers scare away the locals,” he said, adding that on a normal day his outlet would receive between 80 and 100 customers but on Sundays the visitors would drop to about 20.

R. Mahalingam, 42, who works at Anjappar Restraurant, said that the eatery was usually brimming with customers especially during lunch hour but there was only a handful of people yesterday.

“When the violence broke out, I was here as well but was too afraid to go out,” he said.

Related story:

It-s business as usual at riot-hit Race Course Road

Twenty-seven held over Singapore riot

Traders pick up the pieces the morning after

Committee of inquiry to be set up to investigate riot

Tags / Keywords: Courts & Crime, Singapore, riot, business, losses, Race Course Road

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