A supposed Chinese Triad boss has spent the last year as a fugitive from justice. The man with ties to illegal gambling, money laundering, and other crimes suddenly turned himself yesterday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Nicky Liow Soon Hee has a colorful past. He became involved in illegal activity at an early age and ultimately worked his way up the ranks. His last stop was as the suspected boss of a Triad franchise working throughout Asia, allegedly reporting to “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok Koi.
A year ago, a Malaysia court issued an arrest warrant for Liow, but he disappeared before the net trapped him. He’s no longer a fugitive, as he gave himself up to Malaysian authorities yesterday.
Triad Boss Surrenders
Liow didn’t mind showing off all his money, most of which he allegedly earned through illegal gambling operations, money laundering, shakedowns, and more. His past caught up with him, though, following an investigation into Triad activity in Asia.
After he went into hiding, he was able to escape justice. However, Malaysian media outlet Bernama reports that he suddenly appeared yesterday at the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) office. Why he decided to give himself up now isn’t clear, and he hasn’t offered an explanation.
Prosecutors had to charge Liow in absentia last year, as they weren’t able to pinpoint his whereabouts. Another arrest warrant was issued last month, reigniting the case. Charges include violations of anti-money-laundering and anti-terrorism-financing laws.
Liow faces a fine of up to RM5 million ringgit (US$1.18 million) and a prison sentence of up to 15 years. That sentence applies to each of the offenses included in the arrest warrant – all 26 of them. The financial penalty can be more if the courts determine his illegal proceeds exceeded the RM5 million ringgit amount.
He pleaded not guilty in an initial appearance today. As a result, the judge granted a bail request, allowing Liow to walk free. He has to appear for a court hearing on May 26.
All in the Family
Liow’s escapades were a family affair. Police arrested 14 individuals last year when they went after him, among whom are two of his brothers. None faced prosecution for any crimes. At the time, they were allowed to go free while prosecutors continued to build their case.
Prosecutors also took down a number of police officers, including two from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. All allegedly helped Liow stay ahead of the police by providing him with tips and other information.
Trying to decipher the widespread operations of Triads in Asia, investigators previously centered on Broken Tooth, at one time the head of the 14K Triad operating out of Macau. This is the same entity to which Alvin Chau and Suncity Group allegedly have ties.
Broken Tooth was the founder of the World Hongmen History and Culture Association, of which Liow served as VP since 2019. That helped investigators unravel Liow’s past and assisted in the subsequent presentation of the arrest warrant last year.
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