A senior police official told BenarNews that a series of U.S. sanctions against a Macau underworld tycoon helped Kuala Lumpur open up connections between Malaysia and criminal groups in China. and involving police corruption in the Southeast Asian country.
Sanctions by the US Treasury Department allow the Royal Malaysian Police to connect the dots, leading to the expulsion of the Nicky gang led by Nicky Liow Soon Hee, Johor Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay state police chief said .
Ayob told BenarNews: “That’s important information, because based on the tip of the iceberg, we can study the serious operations and scale of the local, connected service organization. international”.
“It is very serious and we are very concerned what will happen if we do not react in time and brake their operation.”
Ayob said an investigation found Liow was close to Wan Kuok Koi (commonly known as Broken Tooth), the leader of the 14K Triad – one of China’s largest organized crime gangs in the world. action in many countries. The press said the gang has more than 20,000 members.
“Liow and Broken Tooth are ‘close like siblings’ and this is evident in Nicky’s appointment as vice president of the World Society of Culture and Red Disciplines, an organization led by the US Department of Finance. punishments in December 2020 for being accused of engaging in transnational organized crime and money laundering, ”Ayob said.
“They have known each other since 2018, and Broken Tooth … has since provided Liow sponsorship and security under his 14K Trio.”
The Hongmen Association, based in Cambodia, is a global fraternal organization of China established in the mid-1600s and synonymous with the “Trio” association in Macau and Hong Kong, the Ministry of Finance. The United States said when announcing the sanctions for Broken Tooth.
“The World Hongmen Historical and Cultural Association has managed to partner with elite figures in Malaysia and Cambodia,” US treasury officials said in a statement at the time.
“This continues the model of overseas Chinese actors trying to verify illegal criminal activities by framing their actions under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China, the Chinese Dream or other major initiatives of the CCP. [Chinese Communist Party]”, The government agency said, referring to China’s ambitious program to build the modern Silk Road through a network of infrastructure projects spanning Southeast Asia, South Asia. and elsewhere.
“The World Hongmen Historical and Cultural Association is spreading throughout Southeast Asia, establishing a strong business network involved in the development and launch of cryptocurrencies, real estate and recently. especially a security company that specializes in protecting BRI investments ”, said the Ministry of Finance.
When asked if Liow had any connections with the Chinese Communist Party, Ayob said there was no such information at the moment.
Ayob said police believe Liow, who has been on the run since authorities smashed his syndicate and arrested 68 suspects in March, is still in the country while working on an escape plan. Malaysia. In addition, nearly three dozen policemen were investigated for their role in assisting Liow’s gang.
“We aim to give a stern warning to those who are helping him escape that they may be under investigation under the Security Breach Act (Special Measures) 2012 (SOSMA),” Ayob to speak.
Unnamed anyone, Ayob said the police were monitoring celebrities linked to Liow, including several people with criminal records related to corruption, commercial crimes and violence, including. both sex crimes.
Malaysian police previously said that Liow was able to escape being arrested for “leaking information” from an individual. Police did not reveal the identity of this person, who was detained last month.
Ayob said Liow, who is believed to be worth more than 1 billion ringgit ($ 242.6 million), accumulated his fortune after partnering with a get-rich-quick operator based in China, Zhang Jiang, who is being jailed in his own country for the plan.
“According to sources, since taking over the business, Liow has adapted the scam to match current investment trends to expand his empire,” Ayob said.
Liow’s Nicky Gang also committed a telecom scam in which it deceived victims, mainly in China, to hand over large sums of money, allowing the gang reportedly to accumulate millions of ringgit.
He said while Liow has been charged with being accused of participating in a trio gang, the police are reviewing additional charges related to other crimes, including the mastermind of a fraudulent organization. Based in Macau. The group was accused of cheating from 48 apartments in Puchong near Kuala Lumpur.
Regarding Macau, Ayob said police are investigating Liow’s possible direct connection to the trio Broken Tooth there because of his relationship with the gang leader.
“Based on intelligence, we believe Nicky Gang has some connection with international criminals. We also believe and are investigating his links with other collaborative organizations in China, but we will not disclose further until the investigation is complete, ”Ayob said.
Interpol’s wanted list
Although local police believed Nicky was in Malaysia, authorities contacted Interpol to track him down.
“Yes, we sent the Green Notice to Interpol about him in early April and we are currently working to include him on Interpol’s Red Notice following an arrest warrant from the court,” Ayob said. .
A Blue Notice calls on states to assist in identifying a person of interest when gluing red paper seeks to locate a person of interest in order to extradite.
Meanwhile, thirty-four policemen are under investigation for allegedly working directly and indirectly with Nicky Gang, Ayob said, adding that investigators believe the network has expanded. other collaborators.
“We have identified more from the initial number of suspected conspiracies, not only in the police force, but also in other government agencies,” said the Johor police chief. “However, I have not been disclosed further because it is still under investigation and we will proceed to arrest these internal collaborators soon.”
“The arrest will be done in phases. My intention and my purpose are that these arrests will end with them being charged in court, ”he said.
Earlier this month, 14 people including Liow’s two brothers, Liow Wei Kin and Liow Wei Loon, were charged with joining a group of organized crime. They could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Previously, in an attempt to bring down the Nicky gang, the police apprehended 118 suspects in 70 raids that lasted for 8 days ending on March 28.
The Johor Commercial Crime Investigation Department seized 773,000 ringgit ($ 187,500) along with 35 cars worth 8.86 million ringgit ($ 2.14 million) in accordance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Act. Proceeds from illegal activities in 2001.
Abdul Hamid Bador, Malaysia’s police chief, told reporters at the time that police had frozen 41 bank accounts allegedly using channel funds for illegal purposes.
Investigations revealed that the institution would target investors from China by promising them huge returns through real estate investments, he said. real estate and the foreign exchange market.
Police Inspector General vows to hunt down the dirty police.
“There are no more warnings. I was fed up and a warning was given to them. I said a long time ago to sever any ties between them and this gang, ”Abdul Hamid Bador said at a press conference, according to Malaysiakini, a local portal.
“But from the point of view of things, from the result of the action taken, there seem to be traitors in my person.”
Reported by BenarNews, an online news service affiliated with RFA.