Ah Kong

Ah Kong (Chinese: ) was an organized crime gang involved in its main trade of drugs and used to control the European heroin trade in the 1970s to 1990s. It was one of the world's largest drug syndicates with its origin from Singapore but was based in the drug capital of the world, Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Bangkok, Thailand where they received their drug supplies. The production of heroin was at an area known as the Golden Triangle formed by Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. The Netherlands is a haven for criminals because of their liberal laws and a gateway to one of the largest drug consumer markets in the world, Europe. Ah Kong was not a triad but a fearsome organized crime gang that was renowned all over Asia and Europe. [1] Although Ah Kong was based in Amsterdam and Bangkok, it had operations in other major European cities and the Asia-Pacific. Ah Kong, which means 'The Company' or short for kongsi in Hokkien had never been based in Singapore. It was also known to have had Malaysian Chinese members and had Thai and Indonesian connections, and over the years they had built strong ties with the infamous Penang-based Sio Sam Ong. Most of the members of Ah Kong were Chinese Singaporeans and spoke Hokkien although they were overseas-based. It was formed when several members of See Tong (which mean buddies or a group of close friends) killed and seriously injured members of their rival gang in a gang clash, and escaped to the Netherlands. While in the Netherlands, the notorious gang received more members joining them. These new members had had military training that was acquired while doing their rigorous National Service stint. After the assassination of the Ah Kong boss in 1997, they began to lose their influence to the Sin Ma gang based in Rotterdam led by a Singaporean fugitive wanted for first-degree murder with firearm in the 1980s. The last official Ah Kong boss died in March 2010. Singapore Like all places with significant Chinese population, secret societies and gangs were part and parcel of everyday life which the local populace in Singapore had to live with. The gangs' activities, which

ncluded extortions, illegal gambling, prostitution, drug dealing, loansharking (illegal moneylending), armed robberies and kidnapping, were a major menace in Singapore, especially in the 1950s to the 1970s. Gang wars that resulted in deaths and serious injuries, even to common bystanders, were a common sight in those days. In 1954, the Commissioner of Police in Singapore revealed that there were 368 known secret societies in Singapore. The police had kept the records of 20000 members of secret societies, of which 6500 were active members. This was out of a population of less than two million people then. [2] [3] To eradicate the secret societies, the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act was used by the Singapore government whereby suspected criminals could be arrested without evidence or warrant, and detained indefinitely without the detainee ever being charged with a crime or tried in a court of law. [edit]Origin On the night of October 23, 1969, Roland aka Hylam-kia, which mean Hainanese Kid in Hokkien and about ten of his fellow gang members from See Tong had armed themselves with machetes to attack two members of their rival gang, Pek Kim Leng (White Golden Dragon). The members of See Tong were in two cars and had trailed and cornered the car of their rival gang members at the junction of Bras Basah Road and North Bridge Road. One of the rival gang members, who were also armed, was killed and the other seriously injured during the attack.[4] The clash had arisen from a previous dispute between See Tong and Pek Kim Leng gang members in a bar. Negotiation held later to settle the dispute was broken down. A 'curfew' between the two gangs ensued whereby gang members would attack at the sight of each other. Roland and many of his fellow gang members were from a Hainanese village at Upper Serangoon, where the community was close-knit and included hardened fugitives and seamen. With the help of See Tong, Roland and some of his 'brothers' managed to escape to Malaysia and then to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Most of the gang members involved in the attack were arrested and were jailed without trial.

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Updated in February 2013