The Legendary Botak Chin

This article was written translating ,quoting, researching and with permission from various sources.

Wong Swee Chin or famously known as Botak Chin was one of the most notorious and feared criminal in Malaysia in the early 60’s and 70’s. He was born in Kuala Lumpur in the year 1951.

Botak Chin had 10 siblings, and his father was a retired railways officer. He was educated in a Chinese primary school in Sentul and subsequently transferred to English medium school. He stopped schooling at the age of 15 and started doing odd jobs, including helping out in a night market near Jalan Tun Ismail for almost a year.

Botak Chin began to mix up with the wrong crowd, and joined the notorious underground gangster group (Geng 360). His life took a tragic turn when his mother passed away in 1968, prompting him to spend less time at home and more time outside with his new found dangerous friends. He started staying out in their houses and began to get involved in small thefts around the area of Sentul.

Botak Chin was already a gangster in the making, although he was a small sized guy. Together with his 3 friends and equipped with 2 guns, they committed their first armed robbery on 19 April 1969, when Botak Chin was only 18. Amazed by how guns commands respect, Botak Chin bought his own .22 inch revolver and formed his own gang, and within a month in September 1969, he had committed a total of 8 armed robberies.

However, Botak Chin was caught and convicted, sentenced to 7 years in jail. Ironically due to good conduct, he was released early, and came out from jail in November 1974.He tried surviving by working in Sentul Pasar again, this time selling vegetables. But the money was never enough.

Botak Chin came back to business.

In April 1975, Botak Chin formed a new gang, this time he was joined by some of the most hardened gangsters including Ng Cheng Wong(Ah Wong), Beh Kok Chin(Pangkor Chin) and Teh Bok Lay(Seh Chai). One month later, he went to Thailand to buy firearms for his new found gang.Early Jun, Botak Chin robbed an illegal gambling shop in Sentul and got away with RM 5800. He invested the entire money to buy more firearms from Thailand, and build his own arsenal consisting a total of 11 guns and more than a hundred bullets. In Kepong, Botak Chin practiced his shooting skills and improvised it by shooting stray dogs.

It is famously rumored that Botak Chin displays his gun openly in Sentul market, and the locals became very fearful and respected Botak Chin. In Julai, Botak Chin robbed a bank in Jalan Imbi and got away with RM 95000. The portion was shared among his notorious team mates, with Chin raking in RM 25000. He bought a new car, Datsun with this money, placing RM 3600 as a deposit. Next, a Chinese temple became the target of Botak Chin . RM 10000 was robbed from a few mahjung players in the temple.

Botak Chin was attracting too much attention and it was not long before Kuala Lumpur Serious Crime branch began investigation on him. Deputy Superintendent of Police, S. Kulasingam(at that time also one of the most feared and respected policemen) was given the task to capture Botak Chin. DSP Kulasingam is no ordinary man, he had been shot and even attacked with acid, yet he is one hell of a tough cop. DSP Kulasingam started his investigation.

Botak Chin was having problem obtaining firearms, forcing him to be targeting policemen. He robbed three pistols from three policemen. While robbing Sentul Railways Club, he openly challenged the members of the club to a shooting game ala cowboy style.

The police continued hunting him and in September, police spotted a stolen Alfa Romeo occupied by Botak Chin and his members. After a 3.2 km high-speed chase rained by the police bullets, the car finally stopped in Segambut Dalam. Botak Chin quickly disappeared in one of the nearby slum areas. In a hurry, they’ve also left a .38 inch revolver in the car. Together with another member, including one who was seriously injured, Botak Chin got away by hijacking another Volvo car.

On the 25th of September, his right hand, Chau Kuan(Ah Kuan) was shot dead in a grocery shop along the Kovil Hilir street. But little this deterred Botak Chin.On the 26th of October 1975, Botak Chin committed his biggest ever robbery, gulping RM 218000 after shooting down a security guard who was carrying gambling money from the Race Club. With his share of RM 40000, Botak Chin finds himself in Thailand where he added more weapons to his arsenal, totaling now at 19 guns, 5 hand bombs, and almost a thousand bullets.

However, Botak Chin position as a leader began to unsettle when other members starts questioning his ability. He quickly moved in to eliminate his challengers and a few days later, Tua Pui Lek (gang leader of Lima Jari Gunung) and his own gang member (Ah Wong) was found shot dead in Jinjang. Seh Chai, killed himself after he was surrounded by police in Jalan Alor.

Early 1976, Botak Chin recruited new members, committed three more armed robberies totaling nearly RM 400000. At the same time, 7 more of his new members were shot dead while the rest was caught. 15 guns, bullets and bombs were found to be in the possessions of the dead members. DSP S.Kulasingam was hot in pursuit of Botak Chin. It all came to an end on the 16th of February 1976. The police were tipped that Botak Chin was hiding in a wood factory near Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur. A detailed operation was carefully planned to ambush the hideout.

Police surrounded the area and waited till night falls and hours went by until a white Mazda turned into the factory area. 3 men came out from the car, and one of it was Botak Chin. They were well armed besides being equipped with 2 hand bombs. Botak Chin and his two other members did not realize that the police had surrounded the area, and continued with their usual activities. A few other gang members started patrolling the area, in order to protect Botak Chin. At that moment, the police moved in.

4 police squads from the Serious Crime Unit moved in, crashing into the factory area. The gang members, who were assigned to patrol the area, ran away. From inside the building, Botak Chin together with Beh Kok Chin (Pangkor Chai) and Hiew Foo Khen(Ah Keong), knew that something is wrong,and realized soon later they were surrounded by police.

The battle began, and the shooting was said to have lasted more than an hour. More than 500 bullets were shot towards Botak Chin and his members, topped with tear gas canisters. Pangkor Chai and Ah Keong shot back, also throwing in hand bombs towards the police. Botak Chin was eventually shot in his hands and legs, and was seriously injured. Within minutes, Pangkor Chai and Ah Keong were shot dead. Botak Chin was seriously injured and police moved in to arrest him. He could not fight back and taken to a nearby hospital where he recovered. It is believed that he took a total of 6 shots, but still survived.

One interesting thing about Botak chin was his obsession towards Thailand amulets. It is believed that Thai amulets could make someone invisible and individuals wearing it can obtain magical powers. Botak Chin was said to be wearing a few amulets, in particular ‘Pita’, the Deity of Deceiving. Even when he was caught, when the police tried to remove his amulet, he warned them;

“Ini sembahyang punya, jangan sentuh”.

Botak Chin was also known as the Modern Day Robin Hood, as he famously declared during his trial that he helps the poor by robbing the rich. Botak Chin as notoriously as he may have been, was in fact never turned in by any members of the public in Sentul area, neither was the police tipped. That also explains the reason why he managed to evade the police for a long time. Some people had even claimed that Botak Chin had helped the locals with the money raked in from the robbery, particularly the poor Chinese people in his area.

Botak Chin had also never been involved in rape or violence of any kind towards woman. However, many women fell in love with him, while he was in prison. He used to receive many letters from outside the prison, all from young woman attracted to this young handsome man. It is not an understatement to say that Botak Chin was good looking, as you can see from the pictures.

After Botak Chin recovered, he was detained for a year and subsequently charged under ISA, and was finally handed down death sentence after Botak Chin pleaded guilty. His case was retried in April 1980, the court returned the verdict that he is still to be hung. The Federal Court also rejected retrial of his case. Even when he was in prison, he attacked two wardens in two separate occasions, seriously injuring one of them.

One of the most ironic thing about his case was he was never charged of killing anyone, neither did he admitted to killing any. He was sentenced to death solely because of the possession of firearms and hand bombs.

On the 11th of Jun 1981, Botak Chin was brought out of his cell; his face was covered with a black cloth. He was taken down to the chamber of death, and he looked as calm as he had always been. At the age of 29, Botak Chin was hung to death, ending the episode of the most notorious and legendary gangster in Malaysia.

42 comments to The Legendary Botak Chin

  • Vivek

    M1 comment! Thumb up Thumb down +25

    “Deputy Superintendent of Police, S. Kulasingam(at that time also one of the most feared and respected policemen) ”

    Amazing to know this. But the policemen these days aren’t like that anymore nor are the gangsters.

  • pratha

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    interesting interesting…:)

  • Vshalin

    Thumb up Thumb down +3

    I lived in Kampong Botak Chin during my childhood. :P
    Such a good read. You told his story well. Thank you for that. :D

  • alishha

    M1 comment! Thumb up Thumb down +6

    The legendary should be Deputy Superintendent of Police, S. Kulasingam not Botak Chin cos all d way Botak Chin gives troubles n suffers to all parties… money to poor with his own money is good but not stealing others money…..But D.S.S.Kulasingam was a man who did not flinch in the face of danger. He was courageous, obstinate and steadfastly devoted to his duties and he held fast to the belief that these qualities made the difference in the fight against crime.He was also awarded the Ahli Mangku Negara (AMN) for distinguished service in the police force and had been hailed as epitomising the qualities that policemen should be made of – courage, tenacity and selfless devotion.

  • TrueGemini

    M1 comment! Thumb up Thumb down +5

    Very detailed and the fact that you told the story as it is and u were not bias to any sides-be it Botak Chin or Kulasingam

  • Gokul

    Thumb up Thumb down +2

    Interesting story. If I was a movie director, this would be my next project.. :D Thanks for the superb article bro.. :)

  • Sashikumar Muniandy

    Thumb up Thumb down 0

    sumthing i didnt know all this while..thanks bro~

  • sweetha

    Thumb up Thumb down 0

    interesting to read…..

  • Madhu

    Thumb up Thumb down +2

    Very interesting read, Thanks for the share

  • Prasanna

    Thumb up Thumb down +2

    its good to know about what happened in the past… take the good ones as a lesson and leave the bad one aside.. obsessed with your blogs sk.. keep up the good work…

  • Shanthini

    Thumb up Thumb down +2

    Good write up as usual Durai..I feel u should also dedicate another post to the late Retired assistant commissioner S. Kulasingam who was known as the “toughest cop the force ever had”. From what I read about him, he was one man who never knew the meaning of fear. Would love to read on what you’ll have to write about this “lion of the community”.

  • M1 comment! Thumb up Thumb down +6

    The ‘bolded sentence at the botom of the article carries the real message. The so called ‘top’ this and ‘top’ that macha gangters can now hang themselves. :D

  • Hareen

    Thumb up Thumb down +4

    Another great article bro! You should also write an article about infamous Mona Fendi :)

  • SumSingh69

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    i herd tat botak chin from 360 he wen into 08..
    no idea of tho..

  • Joe

    Thumb up Thumb down +3

    Bro, I have read about DSP Kulasingam when he passed away few years back. He never even got married, and survived an ambush back in those days. Would be nice if you can write bout the brave Indian cops that we had.
    Thumbs up for this 1 =)

  • $@i

    Thumb up Thumb down +3

    Being born and bred in Sentul, I lived by the tale of Botak Chin all the time. In fact Botak Chin’s brother still lives in Sentul but with unsound mind. And it’s true that he was the Robin Hood of Sentul. He has helped many individuals, who now have shops at Sentul Pasar selling vegetables and having sundry shops. But the crime never stopped in Sentul! You can leave the ghetto but the ghetto can’t leave out of you. :)

    • Mr Jagger

      Thumb up Thumb down 0

      I agree with you mate & i have seen his brother too. My friend lives near to his house & once when i was around there,he showed me “Thats botak chin’s brother”.
      Like you said,ive been brought in Sentul as well & i would totally agree with your sentence”You can leave the ghetto but the ghetto can’t leave out of you”. Crime is everwhere but to have brave policeman to stop all this crime is always needed. Good Job on the post durai !

  • suganthi

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    interesting article. i really enjoyed reading it

  • Priya

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Very interesting fact…. I enjoyed very much…!!!

  • RoyalPain

    Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Ini baru gangster…..:)

  • SunTannedSuperman_v2.0

    Thumb up Thumb down 0

    inimele indha potteh vandhe sollattum aven gangster’ne, andha S-O-B yeh naa en serupaale adippen!

    Mad respects to Botak Chin. Although gangsterism is not/was not/never-will-be a good solution in anything.

  • Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Thanks for the article bro. :)

    Let this be a lesson for all those gangster wannabes and how their life would/*might* end if they turned out to be one.

  • Thumb up Thumb down +4

    Hi Durai,

    If you were to do an exhaustive study of gang activity, you could no doubt follow it to Europe and Asia. However, it is easy to get a perspective from United States history. Mass immigration during the early 20th century brought many people together in poverty and isolation in American cities. Rather than being “bad parents,” family heads were forced to work long hours to survive, leaving teens to their own devices. Schools were not designed for them, and they were often unable to find work. It is not hard to understand why teens join gangs. They are looking for acceptance & the only way they could achieve what they wanted and needed was through gang activity.

    What inevitably happens is that the reality sinks in and a member wants out, but sadly, getting out is often harder than getting in. Gangs don’t take kindly to parting ways and just hoping that you won’t talk about the things they’ve done. So, they reinforce the fact that the departing member needs to keep quiet and brings the point home with a serious beating that could leave them for dead. The gangster life is no life at all!!

    Anyway, great article!

  • MachanBro

    Thumb up Thumb down 0

    A well written article bro with precise details…
    M1 ARTICLE pece illai… :)

  • Nav_yakuza

    Thumb up Thumb down 0

    Now i get it where all our Chinese people in Malaysia had their savings and RICH today….. hahhaha… all from Botak Chin…well… he never intend to kill good guy.. he just helping out the poor… A GOOD GUY WITH A WEAPON!

    And the Pidta… is it like the so-called-tangkai??

  • mafia31

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    sorry mate, the way i look at things, the greatest ever gangster ever in msia was kalimuthu

  • Saran Da Wan

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    Malaysia DON 4EvE…. Botak Chin….

  • Supermacha

    Thumb up Thumb down -1

    Great! And no one talk about the moral of the story

    At the AGE of 29, Botak Chin was hung to death,….Crime doesn’t pay!

    And there is one who is wants comparison of who is great, Botak Chin or Kalimuthu?

  • Ah Koong enemy of 14K(Amsterdam,Europe)

    Thumb up Thumb down +2

    He shot kulasingam and now botak got caught sure kula whack him like theres no you all know what makes kula so fearless? rumours by people who knew him said that one day a coconut fell on his head while sitting under the tree!!!!but after botak chin case he tried to mow down jalan alor gangster and they challenged him and later on was transferred to JB for retirement.You forget to tell how botak was sent to tanjung rambutan from pudu jail,and everytime national song negaraku was on tv he stand up to show to the malaysian authority that he wasnt a communist,dr mahadevan the head there had every recording of him while there,as u all know during seventies if the bn govt hate you,you would be easily branded communist eventhough you all werent, like recently PSM members being branded. you should write another gangster stories but this time international gang like chota rajan and his enemy D-company dawood ibrahim in malaysia!!!

  • machamagic04

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    bro u miss out details of botak being in tanjung rambutan and the reason he pleaded guilty oso his godfather sunny who is still alive

  • joshcloudz

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    great read! have been wondering for years what’s this botak chin fella story is. Thanks, mate!

  • shockrate

    Thumb up Thumb down +1

    he is our modern era robin hood….. bt not like tiz time

  • Sashikala Mariesoosay

    Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’ve heard of him…”ONLY” heard of him as a dangerous gangster…not as this detail! Thanks for the article and photos:)


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