Tuesday, November 9, 2010

369 and some other Gangs in S'pore..

In February 2006, something happened in Singapore that really shocked the nation and chilled the bones of everyone who later heard or read the news as the story unfolded. It was a cold-blooded killing carried out in typical ganglang fashion but with a gun ! Most gang-related murders were carried out with weapons such as choppers, parangs, daggers and bearing-scrapers in the past. Singapore, with our strict anti-gun laws, have made gun-related killings a rare occurrence. The mandatory death penalty awaits those dealing death with guns and bullets.

In the early hours of that 15th February morning, Tan Chor Jin, then 39 years old a secret society gangster and reputed top hitman, barged into the flat of Lim Hock Soon age 40, a nite-club owner, threatened him, his wife, 13 year old daughter and maid. Holding both a gun and a knife, he forced Lim to tie up the other three before firing 6 shots at point-blank range into Lim. 5 of the shots hit the victim in the face, head and body, killing him almost instantly. The killer then ransacked the flat for money and valuables and escaped in a waiting car driven by one of his ss underlings. He directed the driver to a canal where he threw away the weapons of death. Tan Chor Jin alias "The One Eyed Dragon" because he had been blinded in one eye, then fled to M'sia where he remained in hiding for 9 days before he was surprised and cornered in a hotel by special CID forces.
He was subsequently taken back to S'pore by CID officers and was charged for the capital crime of murder by firearms. In his trial at the High Court, he initially defended himself despite being cautioned that he was entitled to legal counsel. The trial lasted slightly over a week and he was found guilty and sentenced to death. After all appeals were finally rejected, this One Eyed Dragon met his own fate with Death on 9th January 2009.

Before his hanging at Changi Prison, he did something that was commendable. He decided to donate some of his organs including his kidneys which went to Mr Tang Wee Sung of CK Tang Dept Store ( The story made big news in the media ).
Tan Chor Jin left behind a wife and 2 young kids in M'sia. He also had a mistress with 2 kids.

He was a high-ranking member of the 369 secret society sometimes also known as "salakau ". He was a known hitman.
The victim he killed was his one-time close friend and fellow ss member in the AS Tong.

[Photo: One Eyed Dragon captured -Lianhe Wanbo]

Here's a brief snapshot of the 369 and some other gangs in S'pore.

Many of our people, especially those involved in gangs, do not know how secret societies started out. This has led to a lot of mambo-jambo, mish-mash and diluted understanding about the structure of organised crime resulting in all kinds of street gangs, mall gangs, coffee-shop gangs, etc..sprouting forth. The public at large also do not know much about the past or present gang situation in Singapore.
There were several major gangs in our island before and just after WW2. These included the 08, 18, 24, 36 and 108 among others. The 18 or " chap pueh'' tong was one of the active ss gangs. All the gangs controlled different sectors and areas of our island. There was no strict line of division, only a tacit understanding which was often broken owing to intense power struggle, greed and uncontrollable rebels within a gang. Some sectors were so lucrative that several gangs fought over it constantly resulting in "turf wars'' or more commonly " inter-gang warfare'' or rivalry. These gang clashes happened often in the past but mostly over territory and control over illegal activities of gambling dens, drugs, the sex trade, smuggling, extortion etc..not so much as today's so called senseless " staring" incidents.
Some younger rebellious members of the original 18 group left the parent group to form a new ss group calling themselves 369. This was sometime in the early 1960's. They picked the numbers 369 to show that they were still affiliated to the parent group...the 18...by historical link.
3 + 6 + 9 = 18

But that was as far as they were prepared to go..just a link.
As the years passed, they allied themselves to other groups to be stronger and survived.
They became very active in the late 60's and 70's, taking on a new image. They became one of the most VIOLENT gangs that had a bad reputation for attacking the territory of others.
Almost all of the other ss gangs only took in Chinese as members.
But the 369 was the first local Chinese gang that took in other races...Malays, Indians. Due to their relaxation policy, their strength quickly shot up in the 1990's. They became a major concern for our police and gang busters soon after. They dealt mainly in drugs, prostitution, and illegal VCDs. Because of their 'strengths' in numbers, they violently attacked other rival groups...such as the 303, the Omega ( malay gang), and other independent off-shoots of the 18 gang. Also because of their popularity, many new teen-age street gangs began to sprout in the mid to late 90's calling themselves in the same way " 369". Most of these teenagers from such gangs, are street hooligans and thugs, mostly hot-air balloons.
When the police began to come down hard on all the gangs especially 369, many were caught and jailed. Many were detained under Section 55 ( detention without need for trial ). Many were killed in gangfights. Many headmen fled to M'sia or Indonesia.
Those who were in prison started to recruit again among fellow prisoners. When many of these 369 chaps were released in the late 90's...the crime rate, gang clashes, murders and killings shot up again ! The police and especially the Secret Society Branch of CID was overworked.

More to come...


10 comments:

Andy Young* said...

The Police are visible at Pasir Ris now. But a life has already been taken.

Can someone explain this logic?

Anonymous said...

Uncle Dicko!
I saw you on TV on Channel 5. The female host was rather rude to cut you off while you were talking just like that :/

unk Dicko said...

Andy, many have ask the same thing and still waiting for the answers from the authorities.

unk Dicko said...

Anon, don't be too hard on her. She's simply doing her job..as some ads were ccoming on. They get unseen msgs through their earpiece and other prompters and have to react fast.
No problem for me at all actually.
Glad you were able to catch the programme.
I'd not seen it myself.

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the insider view on 369. wao, didn't know that 369 was affiliated with 18. found ur site via google. looking forwared for the "more to come"

unk Dicko said...

Hi Anon,
Thanks for dropping by.
The public and even ordinary policemen knows very little about gang history,culture,organised structure,recruitment strategy, their network etc.
SSB officers should know most of it though.
369 affiliation with 18 was in the past...no longer today.

Anonymous said...

very detailed writeup.. any ideas how to tell these gangs apart from their tattoo?

unk Dicko said...

A number of ways... via their communication signals and codes...through hand gestures and hand greetings.
Also at times by their external attire and other paraphernalia they wear or hang on their wrist, arm or neck.
For example, 369 members are usually dressed in BLACK top and pants.

Anonymous said...

Hi Uncle Dicko,

Have you heard of the 'Little Umbrella' gang?

Where can I read more of this Singapore gangs?

unk Dicko said...

Hi Anon,
Sorry, I'd not heard of this group. Many street corner gangs create and invent new names for themselves perhaps wanting to sound different and attractive. They are often nothing more than that.