'Traitor of all Traitors'—Secret Agent Extraordinaire: Lai Teck, Secretary-General, Communist Party of Malaya (1939–1947)
- Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Volume 83, Part 2, September 2010, No. 299
- pp. 1-25
- Additional Information
The origins of Lai Teck are still obscure, but he worked in the 1920s as a secret agent for the French intelligence service in French Indochina (Vietnam), and was later taken over by the Singapore Special Branch to penetrate the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM). He managed by his skill and deviousness to become Secretary-General of the Party (1939–47). He was arrested by the Japanese kempetai (secret police) early on during the Japanese occupation of Singapore (1942–5) and induced to work for them as an agent against his erstwhile comrades in the CPM. When his treachery was revealed to the Party after World War II and he was asked to account for himself to the CPM's Central Committee, he fled from Malaya taking with him most of the Party's funds. He was finally tracked down in Bangkok, where he was killed. This paper presents fresh information about Lai Teck, including information provided to the author by Chin Peng, his successor as the CPM's Secretary-General, who led the search for him in Hong Kong and Bangkok after he fled from Malaya. It also incorporates information provided by Professor Christopher Goscha from Vietnamese sources.