66 Chinese male civilians were killed by Japanese hojo kempei (auxiliary military police) firing squads at the water's edge on this stretch of Changi Beach on 20 February, 1942. They were among tens of thousands who lost their lives during the Japanese Sook Ching operation to purge suspected anti-Japanese elements within Singapore's Chinese population between 18 February to 4 March 1942.
Bound by ropes in rows of 8 to 12, victims were instructed to walk towards the sea in batches. The Japanese would gun them dead as they reached the shallow waters. Most died on site but only a few managed to survive- they either managed to swim away or seek temporary refuge underwater as the ropes binding them loosened in the waters. That being said, the Japanese made sure all were killed through the ensuing bayoneting of the victims after the initial firing and the subsequent forced drowning of those who were still alive as some of the Prisoners of War (POWs) recollect. They were forced to obey for fear of their lives. The bodies of the victims on Changi Beach were buried in the vicinity in mass graves dug by a work party of 100 British and Australian POWs from Changi Prison.