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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Heavenly King: The Story of Kuala Lumpur's Boss of Bosses

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Some of you may remember news last year of a triad boss arrested under the ISA, that is Datuk Koo Tee Yam @ Ah Lek, and then mysteriously released just as soon as he was rearrested. Today, we will share some information collected throughout the internet on this Boss of Bosses.

Koo Tee Yam, age 45, is believed to control most of the underworld activities in Kuala Lumpur namely loan sharking, pirated discs and goods, prostitution, drugs, illegal gambling and murder among others. He has also diversified into many legitimate businesses such as discos, clubs, security companies, restaurants, construction and many more. Controlling assets worth more than RM1 billion, he is the head of the so-called “Four Heavenly Kings” that controls a large criminal empire in West Malaysia.

Active in politics, it is believed that Koo Tee Yam has sent many triad members to infiltrate MCA, particularly the Bukit Bintang MCA Division where he operates vice dens. He was so powerful that then MCA President Ling Liong Sik sent Federal Territory MCA Chief and Deputy Minister for Energy, Telecommunications and Multimedia Tan Chai Ho to enlist his aid for the MCA. However, Koo Tee Yam disliked Ling Liong Sik.

Thus, he started cultivating ties to current MCA Deputy President Chan Kong Choy (via their mutual friend Dato’ Ta Kin Yan – businessman said to have close ties to pirated disc syndicates) and the current MCA President Ong Ka Ting. He hated MCA Youth leader Ong Tee Keat, even sending gang members to create trouble in his constituency Ampang Jaya, after Ong Tee Keat criticized the infiltration of triads into MCA during the MCA Youth fracas. Subsequently, he has been increasingly sidelined by both MCA and UMNO, where none came to his defense when he was taken to task for speaking on corruption issues in Chinese primary schools.

During the 2004 General Election, Koo Tee Yam allegedly handed over RM20 million in donations to the Prime Minister personally. The meeting was supposedly arranged by former MCA Youth leader Dato’ Seri Kee Yong Wee @ Kee Ah Mat. Since then, he boasted that the police couldn’t touch him. When the then IGP came into power, incensed with what he heard, arrested Koo Tee Yam under the ISA. The newspapers had a field day on the story.

However the Federal Court (chaired by Justice Datuk Pajan Singh Gill, Justice Datuk Richard Malanjum and Justice Datuk Augustine Paul) ordered his unconditional release citing that the detainee’s rights had been circumvented by the police, which is the same argument given by hundreds of ISA detainees and ignored by the Federal Court in almost 50 years of the application of the ISA.

Recently news broke out that the Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Johari was implicated in taking bribes to release three underworld bosses from detention. Meanwhile, Koo Tee Yam’s criminal empire was breaking up into internal warfare. One of his lieutenants Tan Yew Hock, the former special assistant to former Bukit Bintang MP Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng, was shot dead at Jalan Pandan Jaya. Tan Yew Hock was Koo Tee Yam’s personal assistant to handle matters with the authorities.

In order to get out and reassert control over his criminal empire, Koo Tee Yam arranged a meeting with the Prime Minister’s men including the aforementioned Datuk Johari. It is alleged that RM7 million exchanged hands to secure his freedom, and with that he was free and left for Hong Kong shortly afterwards. That is the last the media has heard from him. Or maybe all of the above is just hogwash and the reason is that he was represented by a very well connected lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who has and is currently representing a legion of highly questionable characters accused of murder, gangsterism, corruption and abuse of power. That is a story for another day.

Before this story ends, let us illuminate ourselves with this statement released on Koo Tee Yam’s behalf by his lawyer:

We must stress here that Tee Yam and his family has the highest respect for our Malaysian judiciary and the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs and his Deputy. This statement is made purely to criticize the highhanded attitude of the Police and not on any other Government agencies. I am instructed and authorized to made this statement.

Disclaimer: The above story may or may not be true. Take it with a grain of salt if you wish.