More details have surfaced regarding the alleged target of this week’s grenade attack in downtown Kuala Lumpur that killed a valet car parker and injured a dozen other bystanders. As reported earlier, the two unknown assassins were believed to be targeting an illegal online gambling operator who goes by the name Ah Hai.
Ah Hai had reportedly been poaching rival operators’ local agents by promising them higher commissions on the losses of customers steered to Ah Hai’s gambling sites. With online gambling illegal, operators rely on local agents to get the word out and drum up business. The 4am meeting at the Cherry Blossom nightclub where the attack took place was set up so Ah Hai could personally pitch other bookies’ agents about jumping ship.
The two attackers who tossed the grenades have so far eluded capture but are believed to have been acting on behalf of Ah Hai’s rival operators. Police believe Ah Hai is still in Malaysia but laying low. Ah Hai owns several legitimate businesses in Kuala Lumpur, all of which police are reportedly investigating for threads on which to tug.
The Malay Mail claims the 53-year-old Ah Hai has been in the gambling trade for two decades. It’s claimed that Ah Hai was the personal assistant of Lik Gor, ‘The Boss of Golden Palace,’ before branching out on his own. In 2006, Ah Hai was suspected of involvement in one of the country’s largest bookmaking outfits, which allegedly included a drug trafficking operation.
In August, Ah Hai pointed a gun at a police officer during a routine traffic stop. Ah Hai was arrested but made bail while police pondered a charge of criminal intimidation. A report has been since been set to the Attorney General for further action.
The Malay Mail claimed Ah Hai was in the habit of dropping the names of prominent police officers whenever he found himself under questioning. Among those injured in Thursday’s attack was a former police officer from Kuala Lumpur’s Sentul district who has apparently discovered that crime pays better than law enforcement.
A source from the Bukit Aman commercial crime division said the crackdown on so-called ‘cyber gambling dens’ that began in earnest last year had convinced many Malaysian gangs to ditch their retail operations entirely. The source claimed smaller gangs were getting involved in the online gambling trade because “they feel it is less risky than other vice operations but can make just as much money.”