Macau gangland boss in new bid for release

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 March, 2012, 12:00am


Lawyers for jailed Macau gangland boss 'Broken Tooth' Wan Kuok-koi have launched a new bid for his early release, just months before the end of a nearly 14-year jail stint.

Pedro Leal, one of the lawyers representing Wan, confirmed that he had lodged papers with the Macau courts questioning a decision to keep the now 57-year-old 14K triad leader behind bars until December.

Leal said Wan should have been released this month but that the authorities had used a flawed legal manoeuvre to keep him locked up.

The move is the latest in a string of attempts by the notorious mobster for either parole or a reduction in sentence since he was jailed for a string of gangland offences.

Wan, a key figure in a casino-linked crime wave, has been held in a specially built high-security jail on Coloane island since 1998.

Last year, Macau security officials expressed fears that Wan could stage a return to the high-roller casino business, where he wreaked havoc as gangland turf wars broke out amid uncertainty over the city's return to Chinese sovereignty in 1999.

A new United States-based whistle-blowing website, CasinoLeaks-, (see accompanying story), has posted documents which appear to show that Wan's family members and former associates are linked to lucrative casino junket operations in Macau.

But the city's prison chief says Wan - who is understood to have learned to speak English while in prison - will remain in the specially built jail block he shares with Ao Man-long, the city's disgraced ex-secretary for public works and the highest-level Macau official to be convicted of corruption since Macau's handover in 1999.

Several members of Wan's crime gang who were jailed along with him in 1998 have been released after serving their sentences. Wan got the heaviest sentence.

Lee Kam-cheong, the director of Macau Prison, said according to the prison's records Wan would complete his jail term in December.