Just 50 men to combat CPM

THE E3F squad, codenamed the F-Team, never had more than 50 personnel, which was considered small in the jungle, but their unconventional tactics coupled with the experience most of the team had working in the jungle led to great success.

“This small unit of about 40 personnel achieved more success than all security forces put together,” says Senior Asst Comm Datuk Leong Chee Woh (pic) proudly.

“We had 48 kills, and it could have been 1,418 kills, but we did not want that. Our goal was to capture and gain intelligence. A hundred dead bodies cannot speak.

“Irrespective of risk, our objective was always to capture and I’m glad to say we did not lose a single man throughout,” he tells Sunday Star.

The unit’s founder says they also captured 171 enemy personnel, who were quickly turned due to good treatment by the unit.

“This was due to misinformation sometimes. The newcomers would be told that they need to join because security forces are aware of their links with the communists.”

Leong says when the CPM was driven into the South of Thailand, they recruited about 2,300 people as active reservists who were sent back to Malaysia to give support when they decided to resurface.

“Knowing this, we thought it was timely to smash the underground so that they would be lacking the support they needed.

“We managed to detect and neutralise 1,135 people connected to the communist underground in the peninsula. In Sarawak, the F-team also went in to react to the North Kalimantan Communist Party and we decimated them too,” he says, adding that in total they made 1,418 eliminations.

He says the team employed unconventional methods to turn the situation in their favour.

“We used a skilled forger to trick the 16th Assault Unit, which was sent down from Thailand to reinforce the 6th Assault unit.

“We intercepted letters from both units and replaced them with our own and had both units under our control without them knowing about it. This way, we could lure them out and capture them,” he says, adding that the CPM’s counter-measures against the security forces was to target and eliminate Chinese special branch personnel.

He says they feared they had been infiltrated and constantly targeted Chinese personnel to demoralise them.

When asked why he decided to put his life on the line, Leong says simply that it was his duty and that he has no regrets.

“Most of the work we did was in secret and my family did not know what exactly I have been doing,” he says, adding that if the information had not been declassified, he would not speak to anyone about his experiences even now.

Related story:

F-Team: Only the brave

Courts Crime , F Team