Dato Sri Nicky Liow Soon Hee didn’t spring fully formed into the criminal enterprise. Surprisingly, Liow had a mentor.
In an effort to shut down Liow’s empire, the Johor police have been untangling his web and scouring his relationships. They discovered that Chinese businessman Zhang Jian was Liow’s mentor.
Zhang Jian used to run a multi-level marketing (MLM) company. He claimed to be “the world’s richest man in the future”. However, in 2017, Zhang was arrested in Indonesia and sent back to China. His arrest came on the heels of being suspected of running get-rich-quick schemes. At that point, he was also wanted by several neighbouring countries.
A video of the Zhang and Liow meeting was recently released, showing Liow declaring Zhang as his “master”. The video is suspected to be from Liow’s early days. The video showed Liow and Zhang having a meal with several others, while two boxes of cash sat innocently on the table beside them. Apparently, Zhang was providing financial assistance to Liow.
The duo were in high spirits during the meeting. They laughed, toasted and even hugged each other. At one point, Liow swore to everyone present that he would “listen to Master in the future and be a good person“. Zhang was still the boss of his company then while Liow seemed to be his newly promoted apprentice.
Liow benefited a lot from his relationship with Zhang. According to The Star, Liow’s first break came when he got the opportunity to head a major Macau scam founded by Zhang. And even while Zhang is in prison, he’s been helping Liow. Thanks to Zhang’s arrangements, Liow was able to form connections with various triads.
In return, Liow has been been regularly sending money to support Zhang’s family. Aside from using money to curry favours with his “master”, Liow also used it to increase his charm via his public donations. According to FMT, one beneficiary found it difficult to reconcile “Malaysia’s youngest philanthropist” with his criminal background.
Liow apparently told the beneficiary that he made the donations to do social good in light of his poor beginnings in Ampang. However, the beneficiary admitted to not understanding Liow’s motive for showing off his influential relationships and wealth on social media.
Clearly, Liow thought his wealth and connections made him invulnerable. Yet, he is now wanted by the police.