No justice: 75 years after a British massacre in colonial Malaya

British soldiers killed 24 innocent people in the opening months of the 'Malayan Emergency' in 1948. Relatives of the victims still seek justice.

British Troops ford a stream during a jungle patrol at Kajang shortly after the war against Communist terrorists was resumed on Feb.15,1956. (AP Photo/Fred Waters)
British soldiers cross a stream in a jungle patrol during the 'Malayan Emergency' in 1956 [File: Fred Waters/AP Photo]
British soldiers cross a stream in a jungle patrol during the 'Malayan Emergency' in1956 [File: Fred Waters/AP Photo]

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - In the smart offices of a law firm located among the skyscrapers of the Malaysian capital, 85-year-old Lim Kok’s thoughts turn back to a crime perpetrated by British forces three-quarters of a century ago.

The decades in between have not faded Lim’s memories of the period when then-Malaya was a colony in the waning days of the British Empire.

Attempting to slow the sun setting on its colony in Southeast Asia, London sent thousands of British and Commonwealth troops to suppress a local movement fighting for independence in the aftermath of World War II.

Lim was just nine years old when his father, a hardworking ethnic Chinese supervisor at a rubber plantation, was gunned down in a hail of bullets along with 23 other innocent workers in what is still known to this day as the Batang Kali massacre.

He lost more than his father that day, Lim said.

He lost a family.

With her husband and the family’s breadwinner dead, Lim's mother was left alone to raise six children – an impossible task for a poor rural household in the late 1940s.

Lim's mother was forced to give her youngest child, a newly-born baby girl, up for adoption. Lim was later sent to live with a granduncle in Kuala Lumpur.

Not only was Lim's family torn apart, but the British troops who carried out the massacre tried to cover up the atrocity by accusing their victims of being involved with the Communists fighting for independence.

The truth would surface years later as journalists, researchers and court hearings attested to the innocence of those killed by British soldiers in Batang Kali.

To this day, however, there has been no redress or official apology from British authorities, who have resisted calls to open an enquiry into the massacre that took place 75 years ago this week.

(FILES) This file photo taken on December 12, 2008 shows an ethnic Chinese protester leaving a white flower at the main entrance of the British High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur to remember a massacre of Malaysian ethnic Chinese in June, 1948. Britain has indicated it will refuse requests to hold an inquiry into the 1948 massacre of Malaysian villagers by British troops, campaigners said on August 25, 2009. The
An ethnic Chinese protester leaving a white flower at the main entrance of the British High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur during a commemoration in 2008 for those massacred by British soldiers in Batang Kali in 1948. Britain has refused requests to hold an inquiry into the massacre by 14 members of the Scots Guards [File: Saeed Khan/AFP]

“I knew my dad was a genuine rubber tapper,” Lim told Al Jazeera, when asked about the colonial state’s attempt to frame the victims of the massacre as rebels.

The false accusations never made him “feel bad” as he was growing up, he said.

"The only thing bad is that they were massacred by the British soldiers."

Though he is in his mid-80s, Lim is spry and energetic and has not given up the fight to hold the British government to account for “the suffering which we and the other relatives of the murdered persons experienced”.

“Being the offspring, we suffered a lot. Even my brothers and sisters… They have to go out in search of work at a very early age just to earn a living," he said in an interview earlier this year. "They suffered a lot.”

The most recent fight to hold British authorities to account began in 2008 when the father of Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer Quek Ngee Meng launched a campaign for justice after researching the incident in his retirement.

When his father passed away in 2010, Quek took up the torch for the victims of Batang Kali.

The campaign for an official inquiry has taken advocates from London’s High Court to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and onto the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Quek said the massacre has had a multigenerational impact on the families of the slain men, who were consigned to economic hardship and poverty on top of suffering the trauma of the violent deaths of their loved ones.

Many families of the victims could not afford to educate their children well. Some gave up children for adoption. Others married young or agreed to arranged marriages just to keep their families afloat following the loss of their breadwinner.

“The families were actually broken down,” Quek told Al Jazeera, explaining that it took generations for the families of victims to improve their economic and social circumstances.

“It actually wasn't just the 24 or whoever who were killed. Many, many people are victims of this,” he said.

Quek recalls that legal action was not their first choice. An apology and a settlement would have sufficed for relatives, but a letter sent to British authorities seeking to negotiate was ignored.

“There was no middle ground that we can reach…. No offer for any talks. We just have to go on this legal journey and, yes, we lost on technical grounds,” he said.

TO GO WITH AFP STORY
Quek Ngee Meng, centre, presents a memorandum condemning the massacre of 24 civilians at Batang Kali to British High Commissioner to Malaysia Boyd McCleary outside the British High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur on December 12, 2008 [File: Saeed Khan/AFP]

“I felt sorry for Lim Kok and all those I couldn't get compensation for,” said Quek, who has worked for years on the campaign on a pro bono basis.

“But, what I can get is this: All judges all agree that an atrocity at that time was committed by the British soldiers. And, the fact, the true fact, is these villagers, they were not guilty of any crime.”

“They were not Communists. There is no proof that they were sympathisers,” he said.

The details of the Batang Kali massacre are chilling.

According to court documents, in the early evening of December 11, 1948, a patrol of Scots Guards numbering 14 soldiers entered the remote settlement in Batang Kali, located among heavily jungled hills some 60km (around 40 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur. The settlement was inhabited by around 50 adults and some children who worked on the surrounding rubber plantation, which was owned by a Scottish man.

The British soldiers separated the men from the women and children and confined them overnight in a wooden long hut where they were interrogated. The soldiers carried out mock executions to terrify the unarmed male villagers in the hope of obtaining information about rebels that might have been nearby.

Waist deep in muddy water men of
Troops of 'G' Company, Second Battalion The Scots Guards, wade through a swamp during an operation in Pahang, Malaya, in 1950 [File: AP Photo]

That night, the first victim was shot.

The following morning, the women and children, and one traumatised man, were put on a truck and driven away from the plantation. The hut in which the 23 men had been detained was opened and, in the next few minutes, all were shot dead.

With bodies strewn all around, the soldiers torched the workers' huts and the patrol moved on, returning to their base later.

The first newspaper report in the days following the massacre described the slain men as “bandits” who were shot while trying to escape and claimed that a quantity of ammunition had been uncovered.

Shortly after, Britain’s War Office officially declared the killings as a “very successful action”.

As the truth began to emerge of what actually took place, a rudimentary enquiry headed by British legal officials in the colony was conducted and concluded within a matter of days.

Based on statements from the soldiers, and not the villagers, the conclusion was that nothing had occurred in Batang Kali that “justified criminal proceeding”.

TO GO WITH AFP STORY
A protester representing a British soldier portrays the Batang Kali massacre scene during a protest in front of the British High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur in December 2008. British troops during the 'Malayan Emergency' said they severed the heads of suspected rebels for identification purposes [Saeed Khan/AFP]

The 'Emergency' in Malaya

Before the US war in Vietnam, British forces were perfecting 'search and destroy missions' alongside 'heart and minds' policies in colonial Malaya.

Helicopters of Britain's 848 Naval Air Squadron, each of which carried 10 soliders, enroute to a jungle clearing to land soldiers during the war in Malaya in January 1954 [File: AP Photo]
Helicopters of Britain's 848 Naval Air Squadron, each of which carried 10 soldiers, enroute to a jungle clearing to land soldiers during the war in Malaya in January 1954 [File: AP Photo]

Along a stretch of rural road where the jungle presses in on both sides, Chong Kim Fook, 71, slows his car and scans the thick vegetation looking for an opening.

He stops. Chong and his young brother are now on foot, looking for the entry point.

It has been some years since they last brought a journalist to the site of the Batang Kali massacre and the jungle has reclaimed the entrance.

After 15 minutes, the brothers find a gap in the creepers, vines and bamboo. The clearing leads down a muddy incline to a narrow, fast-running, boulder-strewn river - on the banks of which the massacre of 24 people took place 75 years ago.

The rubber plantation has long since gone and there are few signs from that period when British patrols swept these jungles on search and destroy missions.

Midday heat sits trapped and heavy as Chong steps carefully through undergrowth coated in mottled shades of sunlight filtered through the tall treetop canopy.

“Many reporters have been here already but nothing has happened,” Chong told Al Jazeera, wading knee-deep in the sand-bottomed river to point out the different locations where the bodies of the villagers were left after they were gunned down.

Lim Kok at Batang Kali (Courtey of Etienne Doyle)
Chong Kim Fook at the site of the Batang Kali massacre in June 2023 [Courtesy of Etienne Doyle]

“I still want people in the world to know,” he said, explaining his reason for taking time out from work to take yet another reporter to the site.

Unlike Lim Kok who lost his father, Chong’s father was the lone survivor of the massacre.

Chong Hong was in his early twenties at the time and fainted when the British soldiers began blazing the villagers with their rifles. He only survived because the British troops had thought he was dead too.

Though he lived, Chong's father remained haunted for the rest of his life, suffering a sort of survivor’s guilt.

“My father could not forget,” Chong said, explaining that his father, who died some years ago after living into his 80s, wondered why he alone had been spared.

The patch of jungle where the massacre took place has been bought and Chong fears that victims and the perpetrators will be forgotten if the site is developed.

To this day, there is no permanent memorial to the victims of Batang Kali – something relatives believe the British government could provide, along with an official apology and compensation.

“Maybe the young people have forgotten but not the older people,” Chong said.

“I don’t want the younger people to forget”.

Chinese cemetary where victims of Batank Kali massacre buried [Courtesy of Etienne Doyle]
A Chinese cemetery where victims of the Batang Kali massacre are buried [Courtesy of Etienne Doyle]

Many have forgotten that an extremely brutal and - military historians would say - effective “counterinsurgency” campaign was unleashed in Malaya between 1948 and 1960.

Several of the methods developed by British forces during the “Malayan Emergency” - the term “war” was avoided for commercial reasons - would be later adopted by the US military in its bloody war in Vietnam.

Malaya was the incubator for the mass forced resettlement of populations, search and destroy missions and “heart and minds” policies. Troop insertion using helicopters was fine-tuned in Malaya, as was psychological warfare and the spraying of toxic herbicides from aircraft to destroy jungle crops.

The campaign was prompted by the killing of three British plantation managers by Communist fighters on a single day in June 1948. The response by colonial authorities so harsh.

The killings were swiftly followed by a limited state of emergency, declared by British High Commissioner, Edward Gent. Two days later, on June 18, 1948, the emergency was extended to all parts of the Federation of Malaya as well as Singapore, according to historian Tan Teng Phee.

In this image provided by the Department of Information, his Excellency the High Commissioner, General Sir Gerald Templer visited the Federation of Malaya Volunteer Force at their camp at Port Dickson, Sept. 16, 1953, and watched the men training. The volunteers staged an
British High Commissioner to the Federation of Malay, General Sir Gerald Templer, visits a military training camp at Port Dickson in 1953, where a jungle ambush was re-enacted. Templer stands beside a 'terrorist' killed in the mock ambush and tells the troops: 'Very good, I really enjoyed it' [File: Department of Information via AP Photo]

“The protracted length and scale of the Emergency were beyond either side’s imagination at the time,” Tan said in his book, Behind Barbed Wire: Chinese New Villages During the Malayan Emergency 1948-1960.

The emergency would “dramatically uproot and reshape the lives” of some half a million poor, ethnic Chinese living precariously in rural areas, Tan said.

British authorities in Malaya implemented draconian measures to fight the pro-independence Communist forces, including warrantless searches and arrests, curfews, travel restrictions, bans on public assemblies, internment without trial, and the confiscation of property.

There were harsh punishments for anyone helping the Communists, including the death sentence for those found with guns.

Powers of eviction were later added to the emergency laws as well as the collective punishment of populations of areas believed to be “consorting” with the enemy.

Food restrictions were placed on areas considered to be helping the Communists and “food prohibited areas” became a highly effective policy to starve the pro-independence fighters and their supporters into submission.

Gen. Sir Gerald Templer and his wife enjoy the countryside on a tour of Kedah in Malayan states, on June 1, 1952. To take a drive in the country is risky business in Malaya these days, so the Malayan High Commissioner used his armored car as a safety measure. (AP photo)
General Sir Gerald Templer and his wife enjoy the countryside in an armoured car tour of Kedah in Malaya in 1952 [File: AP photo]

To permanently break the link between rural communities and the fighters they provided with information, food and medicines, British authorities began a massive programme of evictions and compulsory resettlement in fortified “New Villages” where the ethnic Chinese populations were “fenced and guarded”.

According to Tan, the first year of the operation in 1950 saw 67,000 people moved to 82 resettlement areas. By 1952, there were more than 500 New Villages with a population of almost 462,000. By 1954, the population of the New Villages would grow to more than 570,000 people.

In the war outside the barbed wire of the New Villages and which the US army would emulate in Vietnam under its “strategic Hamlet” programme, British and commonwealth forces had “shoot-to-kill” order in relations to suspected participants in the armed struggle.

In the first four years of the fighting, Tan said, “the security forces tended to suspect everyone and were prone to shoot any suspicious person on sight in rural areas”.

Left: A Chinese man wears wrist chains after being taken prisoner by men of the 7th Gurkha Rifles in the jungle near Kuala Lumpur, July 10, 1948, when the gurkhas were cooperating with police in combating the recent bandit outbreak. This man wears the jungle green uniform of the former Malayan Peoples Anti-Japanese Army. The three stars on his cap indicates he is a member of the three-star regiment. (AP Photo) Right: These three members of a Malayan guerrilla band were captured by a unit of the crafty jungle squad of the Malayan police force during an operation at Temerloh, June 2, 1950. The jungle squad knows the difficult forest terrain as well as, if not better than, the bandits who operate within. (AP Photo)
Left: An ethnic Chinese man in wrist chains after being taken prisoner in the jungle near Kuala Lumpur in 1948. The man is wearing the jungle green uniform of the former Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army. Right: Three pro-independence fighters captured in 1950 [File: AP Photo]

Karl Hack, professor of Asian and imperial history at The Open University in the UK, said the most violent period of the Emergency was in the years up to about 1954 when - if you happened to be a rural Chinese person living in Malaya - “the trauma could be very great”.

Pressured by the insurgents to help their cause and also considered rebel suspects by British forces, rural Chinese people were pressed by both sides in the conflict.

British soldiers were also “inclined to shoot rather too quickly” as they conducted operations along the jungle fringes, burning small settlements to deprive the rebels of support from the population.

Military orders were to not “hesitate to shoot” if people were thought to be “consorting with armed people”, Hack said, explaining that the rules of engagement changed later in the conflict and the killing of innocent people declined.

Young women, serving as cooks and nurses in the guerilla army un Liew Kin Kim, came out of the jungle to surrender in South Selangor, Malaysia, 1953. (AP Photo)
Young women, serving as cooks and nurses in the pro-independence movement surrender in South Selangor, Malaysia, in 1953 [File: AP Photo]

But, in 1948 and 1949, the situation was “pretty horrendous if you're Chinese, rural Chinese”, Hack said, adding that it was in this context that the Batang Kali massacre unfolded.

“So we know Batang Kali was cold-blooded killing in the sense that they knew these were unarmed male villagers,” Hack told Al Jazeera.

“Now, we don't know whether somebody started firing by accident… But once one soldier started firing, it's clear that the other groups simply automatically started firing at the male villagers and they carried on until they were dead, including shooting them on the ground,” he said.

“So we know that this was, if you like, an unlawful killing of people they knew were unarmed. They knew there was no threat,” he said.

What might never be known, he said, is whether the massacre was intentional or some type of accident where one soldier started shooting for whatever reason, and the others joined in automatically.

Although it might never be known whether the massacre was planned or the result of renegade soldiers, British authorities have failed the families of the victims, Hack said.

“I think in Batang Kali, I think the British government failed its duty. I think it should have settled,” he said.

“They should have accepted that while they couldn't absolutely be sure what happened when the villagers, the male villagers were killed, it was clear that they were not killed with good reason, and that they were innocent villagers and that they should have just paid some small compensation because Batang Kali is unique for Malaya,” he said.

“And, at the time, the British deliberately covered it up,” he added.

Justice denied

The path to justice for generations of victims of Batang Kali has been long and so far unsuccessful.

CORRECTING FIRST NAME Chong Koon Ying (L) and Lim Ah Yin a relatives relatives of unarmed Malaysian rubber plantation workers killed in Batang Kali in 1948, attend a press conference with their lawyers in London on May 7, 2012 ahead of their High Court bid to force a public inquiry into the killings. The surviving relatives of the victims are calling for a public inquiry into the 24 deaths which occurred after a patrol of Scots Guards surrounded and entered the village Batang Kali on December 11, 1948. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo by CARL COURT / AFP)
Chong Koon Ying, left, and Lim Ah Yin, relatives of the Batang Kali massacre victims, attend a news conference with their lawyers in London in 2012 before their High Court bid to force a public inquiry into the killings. Their request was rejected. [File: Carl Court/AFP]
Chong Koon Ying, left, and Lim Ah Yin, relatives of the Batang Kali massacre victims, attend a news conference with their lawyers in London in 2012 before their High Court bid to force a public inquiry into the killings. Their request was rejected. [File: Carl Court/AFP]

In 2012, two senior judges at the High Court in London agreed in a written judgement that there was "evidence that supports a deliberate execution” of the 24 civilians shot dead in Batang Kali.

But the judgement also rejected the argument from the relatives that the British government had a legal responsibility to hold an inquiry into the killings. The British government argued that an enquiry would not be able to adequately address events that had happened more than 60 years ago.

In 2014, the Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court's ruling.

In 2015, the Supreme Court found that the British government was not obliged to hold an inquiry because the killings had occurred too long ago – more than a decade before 1966, when the right of individual petition to the European Court of Human Rights was introduced.

While rejecting calls for an enquiry, the Supreme Court found that evidence indicated that “wholly innocent men were mercilessly murdered” and that authorities had failed to properly investigate.

Finding no relief in the UK, the families went to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

In 2018, the case for an enquiry was again rejected on the grounds the massacre took place before the drafting of the European Convention on Human Rights.

With the legal options exhausted, James Sweeney, a law professor at Lancaster University, wrote at the time that the UK government could still do the right thing.

“It was, and indeed still is, possible for the UK government to instigate a public inquiry into the events of 1948. With concerted political pressure it might still happen – and while at least some of the people who were there as children are still alive and able to find out why their parents were killed,” Sweeney said.

From Batang Kali to Ballymurphy

Could another historic massacre of civilians by British soldiers in Northern Ireland offer hope for the Batang Kali campaign for justice?

Family members of the victims of the Ballymurphy massacre attend a news conference in 2021 [Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters]
Family members of the victims of the Ballymurphy massacre attend a news conference in 2021 [Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters]

Half a world away in Belfast in Northern Ireland, lawyer Padraig O Muirigh knows all about using legal means to compel the British government to own up to the crimes of its armed forces.

O Muirigh has seen justice done for innocent people who were gunned down and had their deaths covered up by British forces during the decades of conflict on the island of Ireland.

In 2021, O Muirigh successfully secured justice for survivors of the 1971 Ballymurphy massacre, when British troops swept through a predominately Catholic area of Belfast in a raid to arrest suspects.

Ten innocent people were shot dead by British troops over a 36-hour period after protesters clashed with soldiers, including a 44-year-old mother of eight and a Catholic priest who was killed while administering the last rites to a dying man.

Similar to the Batang Kali massacre, the troops who perpetrated the massacre in Ballymurphy later claimed they only shot at "terrorists" and that others who were killed got caught in the crossfire.

None of that was true.

British troops confront young rioters on the Ballymurphy Estate in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1970. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)
British troops confront young protesters on the Ballymurphy Estate in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1970 [File: Peter Kemp/AP Photo]

While British authorities sought to forget the massacre, the relatives of the dead never did.

Their long fight for justice saw them win significant damages from the British government after an inquest in 2021 found that the 10 people who were killed 50 years ago were unarmed, innocent civilians who had posed no threat to British troops.

Less than six months after Ballymurphy, British paratroopers shot 26 unarmed civilians in Derry city, killing 14 and injuring 12, in what became known as Bloody Sunday.

After the 1972 Widgery Tribunal exonerated British troops, an enquiry led by British, Canadian and Australian judges between 2000 and 2004 proved the innocence of those killed and admonished the soldiers for lying to hide their crimes.

O Muirigh said there are links that connect the actions of colonial-era authorities from British Palestine, to Malaya, Kenya and Northern Ireland, including the shooting of civilians, internment without trial, and torture.

“Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday didn't happen out of a total vacuum,” O Muirigh told Al Jazeera.

And neither did the “cover-up” afterwards, he said.

O Muirigh said the opportunity for justice in the Ballymurphy massacre emerged with the UK government incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights Act into domestic law in 1998, which provided the legal framework for serious inquests into historic crimes perpetrated by the British army in Northern Ireland.

The EU convention stipulates that families must be involved, allowing for access to funding for legal fees.

This change made a huge difference compared to the 1970s and 80s when victims’ families often had to foot their own legal bills, “which was a great barrier” to justice, O Muirigh said.

“You had the military turning up with all the lawyers and families unrepresented…. So now we had an equality of arms in terms of representation,” he said.

“Another important thing was disclosure. We had a right to access anything that was relevant,” he said, adding that “soldiers were now compellable witnesses”.

Families of the victims react following the verdict into the Ballymurphy inquest at Waterfront Hall in Belfast on May 11, 2021. British soldiers used
Families of the victims of the Ballymurphy massacre react following the inquest verdict in 2021 which found that British soldiers used 'clearly disproportionate' force that saw 10 civilians shot dead in 1971 who were innocent of any crimes [File: Paul Faith/AFP]

And it is this type of enquiry that the Batang Kali families have been denied, O Muirigh said.

“The inquest in Ballymurphy, the people in Ballymurphy didn't learn anything new. They knew [their relatives] were innocent on the ninth of August 1971. Just as the people of Batang Kali know that their people were innocent,” he said.

“The fatal thing for people here is the official version that exists besmirches their relatives’ reputation,” he said, explaining how, much like the multigenerational impact of the Batang Kali massacre, the Ballymurphy families faced discrimination and hardship on top of bereavement.

Some had to move from neighbourhoods because they were labelled "terrorists"; others could not get jobs because of the harm done to their family’s reputation.

“People just talk about the events of that day, but it's the years afterwards, the weeks, months, years afterwards, where their lives are impacted in a very obvious way from the loss,” he said.

The enquiry's ability to correct the record made all the difference for the families.

“This is a greater impact, not only for the families to know that there's an official version, but because their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren will ask: What happened to my grandfather? What happened to my grandmother?” O Muirigh said.

“Now they can point to the inquest finding… and that's very important”.

Rita Bonner (2R) and family members pose with pictures of her brother, John Laverty as they arrive for the verdict into the Ballymurphy inquest at Waterfront Hall in Belfast on May 11, 2021. The findings of an inquest into the deaths of 10 people by British soldiers in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast in 1971 are due to be published today. (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP)
Family members of the Ballymurphy massacre victims pose with pictures of their lost loved ones in Belfast in 2021 [File: Paul Faith/AFP]

Emphasising the lasting impact that state cover-ups of military massacres have on communities, O Muirigh offered this advice to the Batang Kali families: Don’t give up.

“The state doesn't have ownership of truth or processes. So my suggestion is that if the legal routes are closed down, that they look at some international panel and get help from them,” he said.

“Find a process, even if the state doesn't allow you one. Get your own process. Don't wait on the state. If they close the doors down, make your own process,” he said.

Noting that “mechanisms may open up in the future” and forensic analysis is always advancing, O Muirigh said the Batang Kali families should continue to gather evidence, involve experts from around the world, publish findings and continue to speak out about what occurred all those years ago.

He also offered his assistance.

“I’m a huge admirer of what they've tried to do after all these years. I can totally sympathise with them and relate to them given that I do a lot of work with similar families,” he said.

“Evidence can survive many, many decades. And there are new technologies, new evidence that can be brought to bear as well. So keep it going, and don't accept the closed door,” he said.

“My very direct advice to them is keep it lit, as we say in Ireland.”

Ethnic Chinese hold banners in front of the British High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur on December 12, 2008 during a demonstration to condemn an historic Batang Kali massacre. Scores of protestors who gathered at the British High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur condemned the killing of 24 unarmed villagers by the British Army in 1948 in Batang Kali and demanded an apology from Britain and compensation to the victim's families. AFP PHOTO / Saeed KHAN (Photo by SAEED KHAN / AFP)
Ethnic Chinese protesters hold banners in front of the British High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur on December 12, 2008 during a demonstration to condemn the lack of justice in the historic Batang Kali massacre [Saeed Khan/AFP]
Ethnic Chinese protesters hold banners in front of the British High Commission building in Kuala Lumpur on December 12, 2008 during a demonstration to condemn the lack of justice in the historic Batang Kali massacre [Saeed Khan/AFP]
Source: Al Jazeera