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Broken Tooth’s jail term ends March 31, 2012
Local authorities appear reluctant to talk at length about triad leader Wan Kuok Koi, better known as ‘Broken Tooth’ Koi, but they’re steadfast in the guarantee that no major changes will occur, following the former leader of the 14-K gang’s release on March 31.
Reports last week claimed Wan was due for release next month but Macau’s prison chief, Lee Kam Cheong, confirmed his release date as next year.
Some have expressed concern that Wan may try to stage a return to the VIP casino business, however the gaming regulator said application procedures for gaming promoters will not change after Wan’s release.
All junket promoters are “strictly regulated” in Macau by the many laws and regulations which govern the junket promotion business, the director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), Manuel Joaquim das Neves, told Macau Daily Times.
Following the liberalisation of gaming in 2002, all junket promoters were required to be licensed by the DICJ prior to conducting business in local casinos.
Licensing procedures include detailed background checks, ongoing monitoring and various audits by the DICJ. All gaming activities are supervised and monitored by both DICJ inspectors and the judiciary police.
“There will be no changes or particular rules applied to the system now in place [due to the release of Wan Kuok Koi],” Neves said.
A spokesperson from the office of the secretary for Security added that he too was not aware of any special measures being put in place, but declined to comment any further.
Nevertheless, the South China Morning Post reported last Sunday that security officials in Macau fear that the jailed triad kingpin could stage a return to the VIP casino business on his release from prison.
“We are ... concerned that he might make some sort of move to get back into the VIP business when he does eventually leave prison,” an unidentified source told the Hong Kong newspaper.
“You need a licence, but it is well known that licences have been obtained with `front’ names. There will be extra vigilance,” the insider added.
Wan shot to international fame in 1998 after being featured in Time and Newsweek magazines, after a crime wave linked to casinos saw different factions fighting a turf war.
Wan was arrested on May 1, 1998 under suspicion of being the moral author of an alleged attempt against the life of then director of the local Judiciary Police, António Marques Baptista, hours earlier.
He was brought before the Judge of Criminal Prosecutions, who considered that there was no evidence linking the author to the alleged bomb blast, but that he was suspected of the crime by secret association.
The trial began on April 27, 1999 but immediately adjourned to June 17. The Chief Judge, however, tendered his resignation and left Macau. A new judge was recruited from Portugal, who came to Macau expressly to preside over Wan’s trial, and returned to Portugal immediately following its conclusion.
The judgement was rendered on November 23 and Broken Tooth was convicted and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for being a triad gang member and leader, money laundering and loan sharking. His term was later reduced to 13 years and 10 months, due to come to an end March 31, 2012. His three applications for release on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence were rejected by the judiciary.
Eight co-defendants, including Wan’s brother Wan Kuok-hung, were also jailed.
At the height of Broken Tooth’s power, Macau was rocked by violent turf wars between rival secret society gangs, in an attempt to control illicit businesses.
When arrested, Wan was watching a gangster movie, Casino, which he financed and which is believed to chronicle his own gangland exploits.T.A.
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