Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sook Ching massacre,15Feb1942

After the fall of Singapore, Masayuki Oishi, commander of No. 2 Field Kempeitai, set up his headquarters in the YMCA Building atStamford Road as the Kempeitai East District Branch. The Kempeitai prison was in Outram with branches in Stamford Road, Chinatownand the Central Police Station. A residence at the intersection of Smith Street and New Bridge Road formed the Kempeitai West District Branch.
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 following passage is from an article from the National Heritage Board:
The inspection methods were indiscriminate and non-standardised. Sometimes, hooded informants identified suspected anti-Japanese Chinese; other times, Japanese officers singled out "suspicious" characters at their whim and fancy. Those who survived the inspection walked with "examined" stamped on their faces, arms or clothing; others were issued a certificate. The unfortunate ones were taken to remote places like Changi and Punggol, and unceremoniously killed in batches.
According to the A Country Study: Singapore published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress:
All Chinese males from ages eighteen to fifty were required to report to registration camps for screening. The Japanese or military police arrested those alleged to be anti-Japanese, meaning those who were singled out by informers or who were teachers, journalists, intellectuals, or even former servants of the British. Some were imprisoned, but most were executed.
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.
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 Kempeifiring 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 Courseafter 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.
In a quarterly newsletter, the National Heritage Board published the account of the life story of a survivor named Chia Chew Soo whose father, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters were bayoneted one by one by Japanese soldiers in Simpang Village.3)
Source: Accessed:11Feb 2013)

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