|Town or city||Colmera, Dili|
|Literal meaning||Lay Store|
Toko Lay (traditional Chinese :黎土庫; simplified Chinese :黎土库; pinyin :Lítǔkù; Jyutping :Lai4 tou2fu3; Pe̍h-ōe-jī :Lêthó͘-khò͘; lit. 'Lay Store';transl. Lay Department Store;Portuguese :Toko Lay;Tetum :Toko Lay) is a commercial building in the centre of Dili,East Timor.
Constructed in 1959 during the Portuguese colonial era,it has always been a hardware store owned by members of the Lay family,a Timorese extended family of Chinese descent.
In the course of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975,the building served as a refuge;more recently,it was damaged during the violence of September 1999.
As indicated by the inscription on its façade,the Toko Lay hardware store dates from 1959.
The building has always been owned by members of the Lay extended family of East Timor,all of whom probably originated in the Chinese province of Guangdong. The family has survived every major East Timorese event since the building was constructed,including Portuguese colonialism,Indonesian invasion,occupation,and then destruction,and later the UN-supervised period of rebuilding.
As of mid 1975,the store's owner was Lay Tin Hsiong,who had travelled abroad a few months earlier.
Between August and December 1975,political instability grew in Portuguese Timor. Many Dili residents left their homes and gathered in the town's few large buildings. Others arrived as refugees from regional centres such as Liquiçá,Suai and Same.Chico Lay,brother-in-law of Lay Tin Hsiong,gave the Chinese community permission to take refuge inside Toko Lay.
A Chinese trader from Dili,Chong Kui Yan,and his family were amongst those refugees;in 1984,he told Amnesty International that ultimately there were more than 100 people staying in the building. : 25
On the morning of 7 December 1975,around 20 people,all of Chinese ethnicity,were in the building as the Indonesian army invaded Dili. At an early stage of the invasion,the parachute of an Indonesian paratrooper became caught on the top of the building,and the paratrooper was left hanging dead. : 34
In a statement to the Committee on International Relations of the United States House of Representatives on 23 March 1977,James Dunn,an Australian public servant and diplomat,wrote that an informant had told him that the Indonesians had become enraged that an Australian flag was protruding from Toko Lay's third floor;the Indonesians,he wrote,had gone up and shot all of the Chinese men in the building.
Chong Kui Yan's account to Amnesty International of the events in Dili on the morning of the invasion included the following:
"The Indonesians first attacked at about 6.30 am. In the Toko Lay we heard a lot of shooting and the sound of machine-guns. At about 10 that morning they started bombarding and shooting at the house.
People started screaming, saying they were civilians, and not political. One person, Tsam I Tin, who had come to Dili from Same, came out of the house next to the Toko Lay to surrender and was shot dead. His son came out also and was also shot but not fatally. He pretended to be dead and survived.
The Indonesians then broke into the building and told everyone to come out. They took us down to the beach by the Sporting Clube. There were more than 10 of them. All of us were taken, including my wife who was pregnant, and my child. When we were in front of the Sporting Clube, we were made to sit in line. The Indonesians made as though they were going to shoot at us but did not fire.
When people cried out, the Indonesians ordered us to walk on for about 50 metres down towards the harbour. We were told to stop again and to face the sea. The taller ones were told to stand in front, the shorter ones behind. Again they cocked their rifles and made as if to fire. Then they made us walk to the harbour gate. Again they cocked their rifles and the people were scared again.
Then the Indonesians told the women and children to go to the Chinese school." : 25–26
According to Chong, the Indonesians then chose 16 of the men from Toko Lay as a work detail to dig graves in the public garden and bury dead Indonesians, some that day and about 20 more on the following morning, 8 December 1975. Overnight, the men slept in the new customs house, under Indonesian guard. At midday on 8 November 1975, six of the work detail, including Chong, were told to go down to the harbour. : 26 : 35, 40, 44
At the harbour, Chong saw many dead bodies; the only one he recognised was that of Isabel Lobato, wife of the then Prime Minister of East Timor. The six men were told to tie the bodies to iron poles, attach bricks, and throw the bodies into the sea. After all the bodies had been thrown into the sea, about 20 more people, ethnic Chinese who lived in Colmera, were brought in, told to face the sea, and shot dead. More were brought in later, including the 10 men from the work detail who had earlier been left outside in the garden. When the killing had stopped, the six men spent more time tying bodies up and throwing them into the sea. Then, after a short interval, they were allowed to go. : 26
Amnesty International later compiled a list of 24 Chinese-Timorese reported killed in the harbour area, including the 10 men from the work detail. : 27 The victims ranged in age from 16 to 60. Some were traders, others were students, one a carpenter and another a cook. Eleven were named Lay. Two were women, each of whom had insisted on accompanying her husband, also a victim, from the garden area. : 27 Another victim was reportedly later bound and thrown into the sea by his own father. : 27
Much later, James Dunn wrote a chapter in a book of essays and eyewitness accounts of genocide first published in 1995.In that chapter, entitled "Genocide in East Timor", Dunn included an abbreviated version of an account given by a witness to the invasion of Dili, Etelvina Correira, who had been one of the few witnesses at the scene of the killings at the Dili waterfront. According to Correira, 59 men, including Chinese and Timorese, were taken to the wharf at 2 pm on 8 December 1975 and executed one by one. The witnesses to these killings were ordered to count them; they were also told that the killings were in reprisal for the killing of a paratrooper near Toko Lay.
Later still, another witness, Erminio da Silva da Costa, told the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor that when, on the day of the invasion or the following day, he had accompanied Brigadier General Benny Moerdani around the city, they had come upon an ethnic Chinese woman near Toko Lay whose husband had been shot and killed by Indonesian troops. Costa testified that the woman had asked for help burying her husband, to which Moerdani had replied: "I am sorry if there was a mistake. I am responsible, and I am sorry." : 35, 43
As of late August 1999, near the end of the Indonesian occupation, and immediately before the East Timorese independence referendum was held, the manager of Toko Lay was Lay Chung Eng, son of the founder.The building showed few signs of the invasion.
During the post-referendum violence of the following month, Toko Lay was damaged. Two years later, burn marks were still visible on its façade and in the godown behind it. By then, the shop manager was Charles Tan; he told the South China Morning Post that it was very sad to see the full extent of the damage around Dili, but also said that, "We can't be angry at the destruction of our property. Everyone suffered at that time, not only me."
In mid 2012, a mass grave containing the bodies of 72 people, likely of Chinese ethnicity, was found at the Government Palace, near the Toko Lay building. It was not clear whether the grave dated to the Indonesian invasion of 1975 or to an earlier time, such as World War II.
Damien Kingsbury, an Australian academic specialising in East Timor affairs, said that if the bones discovered at that time were not East Timorese, they were likely to be from East Timor's large Chinese community at the time of the Indonesian invasion. "When the Indonesians invaded [the territory] in 1975, ... [the Chinese] were one of the main targets of the Indonesian military," he explained.
In 2022, Centro Nacional Chega!identified Toko Lay as one of more than 30 historical sites across Dili forming part of the story of East Timor's 24-year resistance against Indonesian occupation.
Toko Lay is located on Rua 25 de Abril (previously Rua Nicolau dos Reis Lobato, and, during the Portuguese colonial era, Rua José Maria Marques), in Suco Colmera. : 34
Four-storeys high, the building is one of Dili's more elegant colonial-era, Chinese-owned shops; it has a clean stone façade, a high ceilinged interior, and a godown at rear.
The stock in trade available for sale within may include Chinese-made generators and Vietnamese rice, together with a wide variety of such items as nuts, bolts, plumbing parts, pipes and plugs. As of 2006 [update] , Toko Lay was a rice importer, and Vietnam the major source of such imports.
Portuguese Timor was a colonial possession of Portugal that existed between 1702 and 1975. During most of this period, Portugal shared the island of Timor with the Dutch East Indies.
Dili is the capital and largest city of East Timor. It lies on the northern coast of the island of Timor, in a small area of flat land hemmed in by mountains. The climate is tropical, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The city has served as the economic hub and chief port of what is now East Timor since its designation as the capital of Portuguese Timor in 1769. It also serves as the capital of the Dili Municipality, which includes some rural subdivisions in addition to the urban ones which make up the city itself. Dili's growing population is relatively youthful, being mostly of working age. The local language is Tetum, however residents include many internal migrants from other areas of the country.
East Timor, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. The country comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor and the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco. The first inhabitants are thought to be descendant of Australoid and Melanesian peoples. The Portuguese began to trade with Timor by the early 16th century and colonised it throughout the mid-century. Skirmishing with the Dutch in the region eventually resulted in an 1859 treaty for which Portugal ceded the western half of the island. Imperial Japan occupied East Timor during World War II, but Portugal resumed colonial authority after the Japanese surrender.
Balibo is a town in East Timor situated approximately 10 kilometres from the Indonesian border. It is located in the sub-district of Balibo, Bobonaro District.
Francisco Xavier do Amaral was an East Timorese politician. A founder of the Frente Revolucionária de Timor Leste Independente (Fretilin), Amaral was sworn in as the first President of East Timor when the country, then a Portuguese colony, made a unilateral declaration of independence on 28 November 1975. He was a member of the National Parliament for the Timorese Social Democratic Association from 2001 until his death in 2012. Amaral was also known as "Abo (Grandfather) Xavier", a term of endearment, by East Timorese.
East Timor was a de facto province of Indonesia that existed between 1976 and 1999 during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Its territory corresponded to the previous Portuguese Timor and to the present-day independent country of Timor-Leste.
The Indonesian invasion of East Timor, known in Indonesia as Operation Lotus, began on 7 December 1975 when the Indonesian military (ABRI/TNI) invaded East Timor under the pretext of anti-colonialism and anti-communism to overthrow the Fretilin regime that had emerged in 1974. The overthrow of the popular and short-lived Fretilin-led government sparked a violent quarter-century occupation in which approximately 100,000–180,000 soldiers and civilians are estimated to have been killed or starved to death. The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor documented a minimum estimate of 102,000 conflict-related deaths in East Timor throughout the entire period from 1974 to 1999, including 18,600 violent killings and 84,200 deaths from disease and starvation; Indonesian forces and their auxiliaries combined were responsible for 70% of the killings.
The Indonesian occupation of East Timor began in December 1975 and lasted until October 1999. After centuries of Portuguese colonial rule in East Timor, a 1974 coup in Portugal led to the decolonisation of its former colonies, creating instability in East Timor and leaving its future uncertain. After a small-scale civil war, the pro-independence Fretilin declared victory in the capital city of Dili and declared an independent East Timor on 28 November 1975.
East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is a country in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, of which the western half is administered by Indonesia, the exclave of Oecusse on the island's north-western half, and the minor islands of Atauro and Jaco. Australia is the country's southern neighbour, separated by the Timor Sea. The country's size is 14,874 square kilometres (5,743 sq mi). Dili is its capital and largest city.
Bilateral relations exist between Australia and East Timor. Both countries are near neighbors with close political and trade ties. East Timor, the youngest and one of the poorest countries in Asia, lies about 610 kilometres northwest of the Australian city of Darwin and Australia has played a prominent role in the young republic's history.
East Timor and Indonesia established diplomatic relations in 2002. Both share the island of Timor. Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed East Timor in 1976, maintaining East Timor as its 27th province until a United Nations-sponsored referendum in 1999, in which the people of East Timor chose independence. Following a United Nations interim administration, East Timor gained independence in 2002. Indonesia already had a consulate in Dili during the Portuguese colonial period, though Indonesia formalized their relations by establishing an embassy in Dili. Since October 2002, East Timor has an embassy in Jakarta and consulates in Denpasar and Kupang. Relations between the two countries are generally considered highly positive, despite various problems. Numerous agreements regulate cooperation in different areas. East Timorese are visa-free in Indonesia.
China-East Timor relations were established following East Timor's independence on May 20, 2002. However, China had established a representative office in Dili in 2000, when was still under United Nations administration.
Chinese people in East Timor consist of Chinese migrants to East Timor and their descendants. The Chinese minority is a small proportion of the East Timorese population and most are Hakka and a small number of Cantonese within the populace. Many Chinese left during the mid-1970s.
The Nicolau Lobato Presidential Palace is the official workplace of the President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. It is located in Avenida Presidente Nicolau Lobato, Bairro Pite, a suco of Dili, the capital city of East Timor, and has been the workplace of the President since 2009.
The East Timor genocide refers to the "pacification campaigns" of state terrorism which were waged by the Indonesian New Order government during the Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor. The majority of sources consider the Indonesian killings in East Timor to constitute genocide, while other scholars disagree on certain aspects of the definition.
The history of Dili begins with the arrival of the first Portuguese in the Bay of Dili in 1520, but it was not until 250 years later that the settlement became the capital of the Portuguese colonial possessions in the Lesser Sunda Islands. Today, Dili is the capital of East Timor.
The Port of Dili is a seaport in Dili, East Timor. Prior to 30 September 2022, it was the main and only international port of entry to East Timor. On that day, its container operations were transferred to the Tibar Bay Port. Since then, the Port of Dili's facilities have been open only to domestic passenger ships and cruise ships carrying international tourists.
The old Municipal Market of Dili, now the Dili Convention Centre, is a renovated and repurposed historic Portuguese colonial-style former public market building in Dili, the capital city of East Timor.
The Government Palace in Dili, the capital city of East Timor, is the official workplace of the Prime Minister and Constitutional Government of East Timor. In the final stages of the Portuguese colonial era, it was known as the Official Palace, and was the office of the colonial governor.
The Democratic Republic of East Timor, was a state that was unilaterally proclaimed on the territory of present-day East Timor on 28 November 1975 prior to the Indonesian invasion of East Timor nine days later on 7 December 1975.
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