Wan Kuok-koi

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Wan Kuok-koi (尹國駒; Cantonese: Wan Gwok-keui; Mandarin: Yǐn Guójū, born 1955), popularly known as Broken Tooth Koi (崩牙駒; Cantonese: bung nga keui; Mandarin: bēng yá jū)(born 1955)[1] was, until his arrest, the leader of the Macau branch of the 14K Triad. He was released after more than 14 years in prison on 1 December 2012.[2]

Background[edit]

Wan had a tough childhood, growing up in the slums of Macau and fighting for his life on the street, before rising through the ranks of the 14K. His rise was accelerated by the arrival of another gangster, Ng Wai, whom he began to work for. As Wan's position in the 14K got higher, Wai asked him to 'eliminate' his boss, Mo-Ding Ping, an assignment which Wan accepted. This provoked a year-long turf war, finally coming to a close when Ping had to flee Macau to avoid a murder charge.

Gang war with former associate[edit]

However, tension between the two gangsters grew as Wai grew wary of Wan's high-profile persona. Teaming up with rival triad group the Shui Fong, a vicious turf war broke out in 1996 and 1997. In early 1997, an unsigned letter was sent to several newspapers in the area. It said: "Warning: From this day on it is forbidden to mention Broken Tooth Koi in the press; otherwise bullets will have no eyes, and knives and bullets will have no feelings."

In 1997 Wan briefly fled Macau to avoid two arrest warrants, one from a new anti-triad law enacted in Macau, and one for drug-trafficking from China. However in August a Portuguese judge cleared Wan of all charges, and unexpectedly retired and moved back to Portugal the very next day.

Wan then proceeded to attack Wai in public, putting up posters claiming he was a drug trafficker and declaring that anyone visiting Wai's casinos would become his enemy. Ultimately, Wan amassed enough power and influence and took over Wai's rackets completely. By this time he was earning $6 million a month from his legal gambling establishments.

Involvement in the film industry and arrest[edit]

In the autumn of 1997, Wan approached Hong Kong movie producer Henry Fong Ping to produce a film based on his life. The result was the 1998 movie Casino (aka Ho Kong Fung Wan) starring Simon Yam as Giant, a triad boss living the high life in the Macau underworld. Wan agreed to extensive research meetings to make the film as accurate as possible, as well as using his influence on Macau to help the crew film.

One of his most outrageous stunts was to close down the Macau-Taipa Bridge for some hours to allow filming of a crucial scene in the movie. The producers had asked the Macau Government for permission to film on the bridge, closing it to traffic, but permission was denied. However, Wan wanted the scene to be shot anyway so he closed traffic from both sides of the bridge without any warning and the scene was filmed in this manner. Traffic to and from Macau was, because of this, halted for around two hours. No police intervention was made or any other measures by the Macau Government were taken to reopen the bridge to normal traffic flow on what was then the only link between the Macau mainland and Taipa-Coloane.

A week before opening night, as he watched his own movie Casino, Wan was arrested and charged with illegal gambling, loan-sharking, criminal association, and attempted murder of chief of police Antonio Marques Baptista with a car bomb. In November 1999, in a landmark trial, he was convicted and jailed, along with eight associates including his brother Wan Kuok-hung. Wan was sentenced to 15 years in prison. All assets of the nine were confiscated.[3] His jail term was later reduced to 13 years and 10 months.[4]

Wan was released from prison on 1 December 2012 and is thought to be planning to re-enter the casino junkets business.[4][5]

Private and public life[edit]

Much like Nicky Barnes and Al Capone, Wan kept a very stylish public appearance, driving expensive sports cars and wearing expensive suits and jewellery. Prior to his prison sentenced he went through three marriages and has fathered six children.

As a result of his gangster lifestyle he has also acquired a number of wounds. He has been shot twice and has had his arms badly mangled by meat cleavers, and as a result cannot straighten his two middle fingers.

References[edit]