The local Portuguese police chief Antonio Francisco Marques Baptista who went down in history for arresting high-profile triad kingpin “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok Koi in the evening of May 1, 1998, several hours after Baptista’s car was damaged by an explosive device on Guia Hill, dies in Portugal.
Baptista arrested Wan in a restaurant of the Hotel Lisboa where was reportedly watching a TVB documentary about himself with some of his 14 K triad cronies.
Spectacular photos showing Baptista and Wan and several of his accomplices in handcuffs outside Hotel Lisboa’s main entrance waiting for a Black Mariah to arrive were released by print media and TV stations all over the world.
Wan was sentenced to 15 years behind bars for a range of organised crime activities. However, the apparent bomb attack on Baptista’s vehicle was not added to Wan’s extensive charge sheet.
Wan was released from jail on December 1, 2012.
Baptista moved from Portugal to Macau in 1992. Initially, he worked for the Public Prosecution and in 1996 became director of the Judicial Police (PJ).
Macau was hit by a wave of gangland violence on the margins of the casino sector in the 1990s, resulting in dozens of brutal murders including drive-by shootings, scalpings and stabbings. Most of the homicides have never been solved.
Reportedly, the violence was caused by turf war among rival gangs on the sidelines of the gaming industry in the run-up to Macau’s reversion from Portuguese to Chinese administration.
Baptista returned to Portugal shortly after the establishment of the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in 1999. In Europe, he then worked for Portugal’s Judicial Police (criminal investigation department) and Interpol.
According to Portuguese media reports, Baptista died on Friday in Portugal of a stroke, aged 65.
A statement by the local Judicial Police on Saturday praised Baptista for his “courage” and “impartiality” and expressed their “deep sadness and sorrow.