If you’ve been keeping up to date with the news from our neighbours over in Malaysia, the name Nicky Low might be familiar to you.
And if you haven’t, it’s alright because we’ve got you covered too.
Nicky Liow Soo Hee, a Malaysian businessman, recently plead not guilty to 26 charges after being on the run from the police for over a year.
Liow, 34, the founder of Winner Dynasty Group, is an infamous figure in Malaysia. Known for his actions relating to scams and other related activities, he is allegedly the boss of an organised crime syndicate in Malaysia.
According to the Oriental Daily newspaper, the group does more than just scam victims of their money. Apparently, it is also involved in other illegal activities such as money laundering, illegal money lending, investment scams and drug trafficking.
Using the vast amount of money he made from these activities, he spent lavishly on real estate properties in Malaysia and neighbouring Thailand, and often posted images of his wealth online.
After the Johor police commenced an operation in Johor as well as Puchong, Selangor in March 2021, Liow took off and has been on the run ever since.
Police were able to identify Liow’s main centre in Puchong through their investigations.
The operation, which included the raiding of areas in Puchong, helped police nab 12 individuals related to the syndicate.
A month later in April, the Pahang palace withdrew his Datuk Seri title from him.
More than a year after he went into hiding, Liow surrendered himself to the Malaysian government at the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department in Jalan Tun Razak yesterday (11 April) morning.
Currently, Liow faces 26 charges under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act in Malaysia.
His charges add up to over RM36million (approximately S$12 million).
Dressed in black pants and a black shirt, Liow was brought into court today (12 April) handcuffed.
However, he plead not guilty to the charges issued to him.
After the charges were read to him in Mandarin before Sessions Court Judge Helina Sulaiman, Liow was asked if he was able to comprehend the charges read to him.
To that, he responded, “I understand” in Mandarin and even nodded his head.
He then decided to claim trial for all 26 of his charges, meaning that he will be disputing all of them.
Arguments For and Against Bail
When discussing whether or not Liow should be allowed bail, Deputy Public Prosecutor Rozaliana Zakaria urged the court to disallow bail.
Apart from the fact that Liow had committed “unbailable offences”, she also cited his risk of absconding as another reason why he should not be allowed bail.
“Various efforts have been made to track down the accused through media releases, Interpol Red Alert notices and arrest warrants to get the accused to appear in court,” Ms Rozaliana mentioned.
On the other hand, defence counsel Rajpal Singh responded by proposing that his client be given bail of RM500,000 (approximately S$160,540). As an alternative, he also recommended bail of less than RM1 million (approximately S$321,080) with two sureties.
Mr Rapjal cited similar cases in the past that involved former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, as well as Umno President Zahid Hamidi.
In both cases, the perpetrators were given bail of around 1% of the amount that was involved in the alleged crimes.
After submissions, Judge Helina set bail for Liow at RM1 million.
Apart from that, Liow was ordered to surrender his passport to the court. He will have to report in person to the Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) every fortnight as well.
The date for case management was also set for 26 May.
Liow’s Connections and Downfall
According to various sources, Liow has a large number of connections with many others who also engage in similar criminal activities.
For example, according to Malay Mail, Liow’s had notable connections with Wan Kuok Koi, more commonly known as “Broken Tooth”, a Macau-based crime boss.
While his organisation worked well at first, the police started to become suspicious after they started looking into an RM1,500 mobile phone sale that turned out to be fake.
The police found out that the money earned from the mobile phone scam would get deposited into a “mule account” that the syndicate was in charge of.
This led to a large-scale investigation under “Ops Pelican”, which revealed the location of Liow’s main centre in Puchong.
In order to find out whether or not parties such as the police, Bank Negara or the Inland Revenue Board found out about his illegal criminal activities, Liow had also allegedly offered “top money” to anyone who was able to provide him with the relevant details.
The person who gave Liow tip-offs was later identified as a former deputy public prosecutor in Malaysia. The person was able to obtain the necessary data from different agencies and pass it to Liow, which let Liow continue running his syndicate without a hitch.
However, this arrangement did not last for long. Once police commenced investigations, they were able to identify and charge Liow’s siblings.
Over 100 people ended up being arrested due to their involvement in Liow’s activities, and at least 16 of them were charged in court.
Out of the 100 who were arrested, over a dozen of them were enforcement officers such as policemen and anti-corruption officers.
During this period of time, Liow had apparently disappeared to a neighbouring country in order to avoid getting caught. Based on sources, Liow also played a part in the transfer of the senior enforcement officers who were tasked to track him down.
In 2017, Liow was also arrested by the police for attacking two members of the People’s Volunteer Corps at the Kou Ong Yah temple in Kuala Lumpur.
The People’s Volunteer Corps is a paramilitary civil volunteer corps established by the Malaysian government, and it is understood that Liow assaulted the members due to a traffic dispute.
However, he was acquitted and discharged afterwards.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Dato Seri Liow)
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