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ARKIB : 29/12/2002

M16 Gang crippled, three members including mastermind shot dead


STILL on the run ...Two of the M16 members who are high on the police wanted list, Dec 28. - Bernamapix.


KUALA LUMPUR Dec 28 - Police believed they have busted the notorious M16 gang, which were on a robbing spree in the past three years, after three of the gang members including its leader were shot dead in two separate operations.

The operations, carried out by the police's Special Action Unit (UTK), were held in Mantin, Negeri Sembilan yesterday and Johor Bahru early today.

Federal CID Director, Datuk Salleh Mat Som, said the police also detained 11 people including two gang members at several locations in the Klang Valley in the past 24 hours.

In the first operation held at KM 5, Jalan Mantin-Seremban, police foiled a bid by three M16 gang members who were on their way to rob a business premises in Seremban, he told reporters at his office here today.

In the 5.45 am incident yesterday, a Proton Waja car rammed a police car, which had earlier cornered the vehicle, before its occupants fired shots at the pursuing police.

The police returned fire and shot dead two of the M16 gang members including its leader, identified as Sunny Chai and his righthand man, known as Hew Yau, 48, of Kg Shaw Baru, Salak Selatan near here.

Salleh said another gang member, Chang Kew Yin, 49, of Taman Megah, Batu 9, Jalan Cheras managed to escape while a policeman suffered light injuries during the shootout.

He said police recovered a M16 rifle and two rounds of ammunition, a Colt semi-automatic handgun and 16 rounds of ammunition, a Smith & Wesson revolver and three ski-masks from the Proton Waja.

Salleh said the police trailed Chang, who had driven a car to a house at Jalan Keris, Taman Sri Tebrau, Johor Bahru at 2 am today.

Chang was told to surrender, instead he fired at the policemen. He was gunned down in the ensuing shootout.

Police recovered a China-made Norinco pistol with three rounds of ammunition from Chang's body, said Salleh.

Salleh said policemen who searched the house found a revolver and a .38 SPL grenade in a small bag which was stashed in the water tank of a toilet located in the kitchen.

Police also detained five women, aged between 14 and 47 and believed to be prostitutes who were found in the house.

Salleh said investigations revealed that Sunny Chai, also known as Sum Wing Chang @ Fei Chai, 40, was a former robber in the infamous Bank of Tokyo heist committed in 1985.

Sunny set up the M16 gang upon his release from prison in 1993, after serving seven years for committing the robbery.

Salleh said a Singaporean, Elvis Keh Jiong Long @ Ah Ho, was identified as the gang's "financier" and had intensively trained the gang members in Betong, Thailand.

He said Keh, who used to serve in Singapore's National Service, was an expert in various firearms and the Bukit Aman Federal Police would send their officers to Singapore and Thailand to track Keh down.

Bukit Aman would also request the assistance of the Australian police to locate another gang member, Hew Soon Loong @ Hong Kong Chai, believed to have fled to the country.

A nationwide manhunt had been launched to track down two others, identified as Koh San Yeon @ Ah Yen and Hew Soon Tien @ Ah Chai, said Salleh.

Salleh said the police had also raided a jewellery shop in Sungai Wang Plaza, Jalan Bukit Bintang here, believed to have been used by the gang to dispose off their loot.

The Commercial Crime Division had also assisted in locating firms and business premises believed to be owned by the gang members, he said.

Salleh said the police were expected to pick up those who were linked to the gang through illegal moneylending, restaurant, snooker centre and car accessories' business, soon.

The M16 gang made headlines when it robbed a pawn shop at Jalan Yew here on Jan 31, 2001 and escaped with RM540,000 worth of jewellery.

Several of the gang members were reported to have brandished M16 assault rifles in the military-style robbery.

They went on a spree of 16 robberies and most of the occassions the gang struck at jewellery, watch and pawn shops, carting away loot which amounted to RM21.28 million, said Salleh.

Salleh, who led the task force to track down the M16 gang two days after being appointed as CID Director on Oct 2, 2001, said disputes among its members had paved the way for the gang's downfall.

He said the in-fighting cropped out due to dissatisfaction over how the loot was divided among gang members and the manner of it being disposed off.

This had allowed the police to gather more details and close in on the gang, he said.

"Sunny Chai even hired professional killers to eliminate gang members who tried to turn against him," said Salleh.

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