Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sook Ching Massacre

Sook Ching Massacre(18 Feb to 4 March 1942)

Operation Sook Ching meaning "to purge" or "eliminate" was a massive Japanese exercise to ferret the local Chinese community for anti-Japanese elements, conducted by the 25th Army beginning on 18 February 1942 and resulting in the massacre of thousands of local Chinese.

Massacre sites 
Ponggol Beach.Changi Beach/ Changi Spit Beach: Victims from Bukit Timah/Stevens Road (Sook Ching point).Changi Road 8 ms 300 acre plantation (Samba Ikat village): 250 victims from Changi 8 ms (Sook Ching point).
ougang 8 ms: Six lorry loads of people were said to have been massacred here.
Katong 7 ms: 20 trenches were dug.Beach opposite 27 Amber Road: Two lorry loads of people were said to have been massacred here; the site is now a car park.Tanah Merah Beach/Tanah Merah Besar Beach: 242 victims taken from Jalan Besar Sook Ching point; currently a runway of Changi airport.Thomson Road: Sime Road, near golf course and the villages in the vicinity.Katong, East Coast Road: 732 victims from Telok Kurau School (Sook Ching point).Siglap area, Bedok South Avenue/Bedok South Road: Previously known as Jalan Puay Poon.Blakang Mati Beach, off the Sentosa Golf Course: Many bodies of the massacred victims were washed ashore and were buried.

The Screening and Execution 

Under Oishi's command were 200 regular Kempeitai officers and another 1000 auxiliaries who were mostly young and rough peasant soldiers. Singapore was divided into sectors with each sector under the control of an officer. The Japanese set up designated "screening centers" all over Singapore to gather and "screen" all Chinese males between the ages of 18 and 50.Those who were thought to be "anti-Japanese" would be eliminated. Sometimes, women and children were also sent for inspection as well.

The ones who passed the "screening"  would receive a piece of paper bearing the word "examined" or have a square ink mark stamped on their arms or shirts. Those who failed would be stamped with triangular marks instead. They would be separated from the others and packed into trucks near the centers and sent to the killing sites.
Killing of the people on the beach.
There were several sites for the killings, the most notable ones being Changi Beach, Punggol Beach and Sentosa (or Pulau Blakang Mati). The Punggol Beach Massacre saw about 300 to 400 Chinese shot at Punggol Beach on 28 February 1942 by the Hojo Kempei firing squad. The victims were some of the 1,000 Chinese males detained by the Japanese after a door-to-door search along Upper Serangoon Road. Several of these men had tattoos, a sign that they could be triad members.
The current Changi Beach Park was the site of one of the most brutal killings in Singaporean history. On 20 February 1942, 66 Chinese males were lined up along the edge of the sea and shot by the military police. The beach was the first of the killing sites of the Sook Ching massacre, with another one at Tanah Merah. Another site was Berhala Reping at Sentosa Beach (now Serapong Golf Course after land reclamation). Surrendered British gunners awaiting Japanese internment buried some 300 bullet-ridden corpses washed up on the shore of Sentosa. They were civilians who were transported from the docks at Tanjong Pagar to be killed at sea nearby.

     (Date accessed: 17 Feb 13)

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