May 28, 2020 – Roland (The Hainanese Kid) Tan, one of the world’s most wanted gangsters, died of a heart attack this spring in Denmark while hosting a dinner party at his Copenhagen estate. The 72-year old Tan had been on the run from authorities in Singapore since the 1960s for a gangland murder he allegedly committed 51 years ago.

While living in Holland, Tan built a multi-million dollar drug empire that spanned several countries in Europe and had outposts as far away as Australia and his native Asia. He co-founded the Ah Kong crime syndicate in the Netherlands in the 1970s and won a war with the 14K Hong Kong Triad for control of the European heroin market.

In 1984, Tan moved to Copenhagen and opened his Bali restaurant and nightclub, which became a staple of the Denmark dining and social scene. Breaking away from the Ah Kong organization, he went on his own, expanding into untapped markets around the globe and diversifying himself with robust stock and real estate investment portfolios. Known for his loud, garish wardrobe and chatty banter with the Denmark press, Tan’s infamy grew to massive heights in Europe.

Tan avoided an assassination attempt in January 2009 when a former Vietnamese bodyguard of his shot him in the shoulder on the day of his annual lavish birthday party at Bali’s. After surviving the attempt on his life, he retired to the Cambodian countryside until returning to Denmark last year. His April funeral in Copenhagen drew mourners from the upper echelons of both the business sector and underworld, including convoys representing Swiss and Tokyo banking firms, the Sicilian mafia, the Triads, the Yakuza (Japanese mafia) and the Hells Angels and Banditos biker gangs.

Coming up on the streets of Singapore in the 1960s, Tan gained an early reputation as someone not to trifle with. When he was just a teenager, he was already working as a hit man for the city’s Triads (Chinese crime families) and leading a fearsome youth gang that acted as a Triad pipeline. On October 24, 1969, prosecutors in Singapore contend, that Tan shot and killed rival gangland figure Lam Chew Siew on the orders of a local Triad boss.

Tan was considered No. 1 on Singapore’s Most Wanted List from 1970 until his death last month. The Singapore government came close to getting the Hainanese Kid extradited back home for trial on the Lam Chew Siew hit in 1973, but Tan’s lawyers got a judge in Amsterdam to rule there was insufficient evidence in the case and blocked Singapore officials from coming to arrest him.

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