Nicky Liow, Malaysian fugitive linked to crime boss ‘Broken Tooth’, surrendersjessie tan
Malaysian police said on Monday (April 11) they had arrested fugitive businessman Nicky Liow Soon Hee, known for his links to an organisation founded by ex-Macau crime boss Wan Kuok Koi, also known as Broken Tooth.
The 34-year-old gave himself up at the national police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning, the Royal Malaysian Police Force said in a statement, adding that Liow would be charged in court on Tuesday.
Until now, he has been one of the country’s most wanted men, alongside the 1MDB scandal mastermind Jho Low. Liow has been a fugitive since last April when he was charged in absentia for being a member of an organised crime group.
The country’s national police chief Abdul Hamid Bador, now retired, said in March last year that 68 people arrested that month had links to the so-called “Gang Nicky”. Among them were police officers as well as individuals with the prestigious titles ‘Datuk’ and ‘Datuk Seri’, equivalent to the British ‘Sir’.
While officials like Abdul Hamid have said they knew Liow was in the country, why he was not in custody before now was unclear.
According to instructions from the Attorney General’s Chambers, the commercial crimes department filed charges against Liow on March 23 under the country’s Anti-Money laundering, Anti-Terrorism financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA), the police statement said.
An arrest warrant was then issued for Liow and his surrender on Monday followed. He faces a total of 26 charges.
Abdul Hamid, the national police chief, said in his remarks last year that he believed Liow had ties to Wan, the former crime boss.
Others, such as Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, another prominent police official, have echoed those claims, saying Liow and Wan were very close on account of Liow being appointed vice-chairman of the World Hongmen History and Culture Association.
It was founded by Wan after his release from prison in 2012 with the stated aim of promoting solidarity and cultural exchange among Chinese communities around the globe.
In April last year Ayob was quoted by Radio Free Asia as saying Liow and Broken Tooth were “as close as siblings” and this was evident by Liow’s appointment in the association, “an organisation sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in December 2020 for alleged involvement in transnational organised crime and money laundering”.
“They have known each other since 2018, and Broken Tooth … had since been providing Liow with patronage and security assurance under his 14K triad,” said Ayob.
Wan had been jailed for loan sharking and triad membership in 1999, a year after his arrest over a car-bomb attack on Macau’s then police chief Antonio Marques Baptista.
Malaysian and Chinese media have reported that Liow got his break in the criminal underworld through another notorious figure – Zhang Jian.
The self-proclaimed “future richest man in the world” was behind one of China’s largest Ponzi schemes (scams) that swindled at least 200,000 people out of more than 160 million yuan (US$24.8 million).
Zhang was arrested in Indonesia in 2017 and deported back to China.