The industrial action caught Singapore by surprise. More than 100 mainland Chinese bus drivers at transport operator, SMRT, refused to report for duty on the 26th of November 2012.
It took some time for authorities to label the stoppage an ‘illegal strike’. Once that happened, things moved quickly. 29 drivers accused of participating in the action were swiftly rounded up and deported. Five men were also arrested. One has already been tried, jailed and sent back home. The rest – He Jun Ling, Gao Yue Qiang, Liu Xiang Ying and Wang Xian Jie – are waiting for their cases to be heard.
I had the opportunity to talk to the four men recently, as research for a possible documentary. The project is nowhere near finished, but two of the men told me something I feel compelled to share:
These are serious allegations that need to be addressed urgently and I have written to the Singapore Prison Service and Ministry of Home Affairs. They have yet to reply, but I hope they will soon.
I’ve yet to hear back from the Singapore Prison Service or the Ministry of Home Affairs, but the police have apparently released a statement.
Civil Society groups have released a joint statement calling for an independent inquiry into He and Liu’s allegations.