Who born in the Petagas jars?


On 21 January 1944, just 3 days before the Chinese New
Year Eve, villagers of Petagas were awakened by the
distant firing of the machine gun in a silent morning. In
the next 3 days, they still heard cries and groans. They
knew something went very wrong but nobody dared to
check it out. 176 members of the Kinabalu Guerrillas
members were massacred by the Japanese army there
that day.

In the early morning on that day, Albert Kwok and his 175
men were transported by six covered goods-vans of a
train from Batu Tiga prison to Petagas. Two large holes
are dug in the ground for their execution. Albert Kwok
was beheaded by a katana (Japanese sword) with four
other leaders of the Kinabalu Guerrillas (namely, Charles
Peter, Chan Chau Kong, Kong Tze Phui, Lee Tek Phui).
The rest was shot by a machine gun or bayoneted. Their
bodies were dragged, pushed or kicked into the trenches.

Another 131 were sent to Labuan for long term
imprisonment. They were tortured and humiliated in front
of people. Finally, only nine of them survived. The
remains of the men who died in Labuan were reburied at
Petagas after the war.

The Japanese Occupation continued in Jesselton until it
lasted and the 2/32nd Battalion, Australian 9th Division
liberated the town on 28 September 1945. In the process
of liberation, the United States Air Force (leading Allied
Forces) bombed and destroyed Jesselton. After the war
ended, a source quoted that out of the 2,400 involved in
the revolt, 1,300 died, with the Japanese death toll
numbering 1,900. People realized there was a need to
care for the war dead and their families then, so the
Chinese community in Jesselton got together and
established the War Victims Caring Committee. This
committee was responsible for the first ever memorial
service for the victims of the Jesselton massacre in
Petagas on 21 January 1946.

References/ Sources:

  1. The Kinabalu Guerrillas – By Maxwell Hall
  2. Historical Sabah: The Chinese in Sabah by Danny
    Wong Tze Ken
  3. Historical Sabah – The War by Danny Wong Tze Ken
  4. The Tragedy of the Japanese Occupation of North
    Borneo (Chinese Edition) by Daniel Chin
  5. Sabah (North Borneo) under the Rising Sun
    Government – By Stephen R. Evans
  6. One Crowded Moment Of Glory The Kinabalu Guerillas
    And The 1943 Jesselton Uprising


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