This site, Hong Lim Complex, stood at the epicentre of a large cordoned area where the Sook Ching screenings took place. Barbed wire stretched from South Bridge Road to New Bridge Road and the peripheries of Elgin Bridge, North Bridge Road and Kreta Ayer were also bound by this enclosure. This was to ensure that anti-Japanese suspects could not escape. Those who 'passed' the screenings were released while those who 'failed' were loaded into trucks and transported to remote areas for execution.
During the Japanese Occupation, the Kempeitai (Japanese Military Police) had used the roads in the vicinity of Hong Lim Complex to carry out the Sook Ching operation in which its primary task was to weed out anti-Japanese elements.
The Kempeitai was instructed to discern 5 main categories of priority suspects: those whose names were listed by military intelligence authorities as anti-Japanese suspects, Straits Settlemtns Volunteer Force (SSVF) members, communists, agents of social unrest such as secret society members and looters, and those who possessed arms.