leekuanyew

Soldiers start clean-up operations at the Padang

SINGAPORE - Two battalions from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) were taking down more than 300 tents as the lying in state of Mr Lee Kuan Yew drew to a close on Saturday night.

About 1,000 servicemen from the 3rd Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment (3SIR) and 5SIR will take six to seven hours to tear down the tents, said Lieutenant Colonel Yow Thiam Poh, 37.

The commanding officer of 5SIR said work at the Padang started at about 9.15pm.

The soldiers are also tearing down the barricades, which number about 2,000, and doing a rolling closing of the Padang.

They will be working through the night and they expect to be working till 3 or 4am, depending on how quickly the crowd disperses.

Lt-Col Yow added: "A lot of these soldiers are looking forward to this opportunity to contribute and feel very honoured to help out at this last minute."

The tents will be returned to army logistics base while barricades will be collected by civilian contractors.

Soldiers will also ensure the Padang is clean before standing down, Lt-Col Yow said.

asyiqins@sph.com.sg