Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gurkhas hurt in Singapore scuffle


Reuters - Saturday, June 21

SINGAPORE, June 20 - A group of Nepalese Gurkhas in a contingent attached to Singapore's police "scuffled" last week in a dispute over wages, a rare display of indiscipline in a force renowned for its bravery and devotion to duty.


Singapore police said in a statement that the group, off-duty at the time, were involved "in an incident of disorderly and boisterous behaviour" at their special compound on June 13.


The incident followed a discussion by a larger number of officers on the issue of their salary scale, the statement said.


Eight people were injured and had to be treated, but no one was seriously hurt, the police said. No further details were given.


A contingent of Gurkhas, known for their bravery and discipline, serves in Singapore to guard some of its most sensitive facilities such as the airport and embassies.


"Apart from the group which misconducted themselves, the rest were not involved in any acts of indiscipline," the police said. Many young Nepalese men aspire to become Gurkhas because they view it as a way out of poverty.


The online encyclopedia Wikipedia says around 370 are selected annually from 20,000 applicants, with 140 chosen for the Singapore police force and the rest for the British Army.


It says around 2,000 currently serve in Singapore, many accompanied by their families.


The police said they are investigating the matter as an internal one.

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