Mighty fall of Heavenly King


KUALA LUMPUR: Controversial businessman Tee Yam @ Koo Tee Kam has been frequently in the news this week and was even on the cover of a local Chinese news magazine, Special Weekly. In its latest issue he was pictured on the cover with famous Hong Kong actors including Eric Tsang and Michael Wong. 

A picture, as the saying goes, speaks a thousand words. It was taken at the opening of his upmarket nightclub in the Bukit Bintang area a few years ago, according to the magazine. 

Over the past few days, Tee has been in the news because despite being ordered released from the Simpang Renggam detention centre, the 48-year-old businessman had refused to leave. 

He was said to be worried of being re-arrested, if he walks out, following a statement by Bukit Aman CID chief Datuk Fauzi Shaari. Fauzi said police had not ruled out the possibility of re-arresting Tee under the Emergency Ordinance 1969. 

ONCE A HERO: Tee (second from left) posing with (from left) the late Taiwanese actor Ko Shou-liang, Wong and Tsang at the opening of his nightclub in Bukit Bintang some years ago.

Dubbed the “Heavenly King” by the media, Tee, was scheduled to be released on Wednesday after a Federal Court ruling on Oct 19. But the businessman claimed that he would not leave the centre without a “warrant of release.” 

The flamboyant owner of several entertainment outlets and restaurants in the city’s Bukit Bintang area, Tee was taken into custody in March last year. After 60 days in custody, the Internal Security Ministry issued a two-year detention order under the Emergency Ordinance. 

Tee, also known as Ah Lek or Pai Kah Lek, because he walks with a limp and had served as an advisor for several Chinese bodies including several Chinese guilds in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. He had also once served as chairman of a Chinese school’s board of directors. He was also involved in at least nine companies, with businesses ranging from computers to property development. 

A businessman who knew Tee said: “He is well known in the Chinese community as he is a philanthropist. That was why news about his release and refusal to leave the centre has been widely reported.” 

He described Tee as a “powerful and influential” figure with an extensive network of associates and friends because of his public relations skills and “generosity.  

On Monday, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Musa Hassan had warned that any “influential figure,” be it a police officer or politician, would be asking for trouble if he tried to help secure the release of suspected criminals from detention camps or lock-ups. 

He had further said that police would initiate investigations against any influential person who wanted to help suspected underworld kingpins, gangsters, vice barons and other criminals get released. 

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