KUALA LUMPUR - The kingpin who was the target of a grenade attack at the Cherry Blossom Club in Bukit Bintang has led an underworld gang for more than two decades.
Known as "Ah Hai", the 53-year-old believed to be from Gang 21 has been running illegal businesses here, including gambling.
"He is quite notorious. He has a police record, including for drug offences. He was targeted because of an ongoing turf war with rival gangs," a source said yesterday.
On Thursday at about 4.25am, a blast ripped through the front of the club in a somewhat seedy part of Jalan Bukit Bintang, killing a car jockey.
It is learnt that Ah Hai was at the club at the time, but escaped unhurt when a second hand grenade that was thrown from the second floor of the building failed to explode.
Police believe that the grenade attack was linked to gangsterism in the area.
Sources believe that Ah Hai was trying to legitimise his operation by branching out into businesses such as property development and food imports.
"A few years ago, he pulled the brakes on certain illegal activities. and may have angered rival gangs as he encroached into their territory when expanding his business ventures," a source said.
Another source likened Ah Hai to the fictional Michael Corleone in the Godfather movies.
"He is trying to clean up his act but his past is coming back to haunt him," he said.
The culprit who lobbed the hand grenade has gone into hiding, but police said they are confident of catching him.
Meanwhile, family members of car jockey Tiong Kwang Yie, 36, declined to be interviewed when met at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur mortuary yesterday.
It is learnt that his wife and eight-year-old son flew in from Sibu to claim his body.
An HKL spokesman said four victims of the blast - three Chinese nationals and a Malaysian - were still being treated at the hospital.