The Chinatown Gangster Who Survived A Deadly Attack
In the 1970’s, Ah Sai (亚世) was a member of the 08 gang which operated in the Pagoda Street/Temple Street/Trengganu Street area. As a daily routine he would get up around noon to have his lunch and shower. He would then pray at his ancestral family altar and light 3 joss sticks to place in the urn in front of his parents’ tablet as a mark of deference before going to join his fellow 08 members for their daily revelry.
On that fateful day, as usual, Ah Sai lit 3 joss sticks to place in the urn. Strangely, all the legs of the joss sticks broke. Being a superstitious man, Ah Sai considered it to be a bad omen. A shiver shot down his spine. He felt very uneasy and thought of staying home that day just in case. But the night before he had promised to meet with Ah Chee, the leader of the 08 gang. Just then his home telephone rang. It was another fellow member of the 08 gang hastening him to go early to their Trengganu Street “Head Quarters”.
Against his better judgement, Ah Sai changed into a set of fresh clothes and made his way to Trengganu Street. In his hurry, he took a short-cut through Chin Chew Street which was controlled by the 24 gang and with whom the 08 gang had just declared a “curfew”. Suddenly Ah Sai realised that he was being accosted by a few 24 members from all sides. Before he could react , he felt a very sharp stabbing pain on his right shoulder. This was followed by slashes on various parts of his body as the 24 gang members descended on him like vultures and chopping at him with their parangs rapidly. Blood was spewing out from various parts of his body. Ah Sai knew if he didn’t make a run, he would be dead by the next minute or so. He blocked off all the parang slashes with his already bloodied arms and pushed his way out of the melee. His survival instinct and adrenaline gave him a sudden burst of energy and strength. He felt no fear nor pain and sprinted in the direction of Trengganu Street. As he ran, he screamed and shouted for help, hoping his fellow 08 members would come to his rescue. Meanwhile the 24 members were still pursuing him. They stopped the chase only when they reached Pagoda Street, as it was within the territory of the 08 gang.
Drenched in blood and with his clothes in tatters from the many slashes and stabbing wounds, Ah Sai felt he was near death. Every step he ran took its toll on his rapidly depleting energy level. Only his will to survive drove him on. He knew he had to hide from his pursuers. He ran into the rear of the Tai Pak Coffee Shop 大北茶室 which was next door to the 08 Head Quarters, and hid himself inside the toilet to keep his attackers at bay. By then, the heavy loss of blood and the various injuries were too much for him to bear. He collapsed and fell unconscious.
Very soon, the ambulance and Police arrived. The ambulance crew told Ah Chee to prepare for Ah Sai’s funeral as with his very severe injuries they felt quite certain he would succumb to his injuries. Members of the 08 gang went around the neighbourhood to ask for donations towards Ah Sai’s funeral expenses.
Miraculously, Ah Sai did not die. After his recovery, Ah Sai always wore long sleeved shirts and trousers to hide the numerous slash wounds on his arms and other parts of the body. Fortunately for him, he did not suffer any injury to his face.