Leong Chee Woh was born in Taiping, Perak, on 11th November 1929 and was brought up by Baba/Nonya Foster parents there. He was educated at King Edward VII School in Taiping, this being interrupted for almost 4 years by the Japanese Occupation of Malaya. Thus he sat for and passed his Senior Cambridge examination in 1949. His first job after leaving school was as a Clerical Officer with the Town Council, but this was not to his liking and so after a short while applied and was accepted for a post as a clerical officer with the police. Based on his experience he was appointed Chief Clerk to Selama Police Station. This was his first introduction to the brutality of Communist Terrorists (CTs). Towards the end of 1950 after some persuasion from his superiors, Leong volunteered to join the police in an active role. His application was accepted and on 1st December 1950 he joined a batch of trainees at the Police Depot at Gurney Road, Kuala Lumpur, as a Probationary Inspector, for training. He then served` with the police force for the next 34 years with promotions regularly taking place, before retiring as Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police 1 (equivalent to Brigadier in the army) and Deputy Director (Operations) Special Branch.
Having joined the police force during the Malayan Emergency Leong’s active service soon brought him into the anti communist field where he served with the Police Jungle Companies and the Police Field Force. However his special attributes were soon recognized and in April 1954 he was transferred to the Special Branch (SB). During his years of service with the SB, Leong was posted to various states and was also stationed at Betong (southern Thailand) for four and a half years in the capacity of Head of Intelligence of the Malaysian/Thai Border Committee, monitoring CT activity. Major highlights of his very successful anti-communist career took place in Pahang, Perak, Kelantan, Kedah and Sarawak and these are credited below :
Leong Chee Woh spent three separate stints in Pahang :
His service in Perak, although not continuous, covered the years 1957 to 1971, the highlights being :
In Kelantan :
In Kedah :
In two postings to Sarawak :
And finally in Kuala Lumpur :
While serving with the police, Leong Chee Woh received 10 awards and 14 Commendations for his contribution to security of the Nation, between 1950 and 1983; the first commendation from the Commissioner of Police, Malaya and the first medal being the Federal award of the Kepujian Perutusan Keberanian (Gallantry) in 1959.
However the highest accolade, the Panglima Mahkota Wilayah came in 2010 giving him the title ‘Datuk’. Many would argue that this is insufficient recognition for a man who fearlessly fought for his country for 34 years.
The picture shows Datuk Dr Leong Chee Woh on his “last day at work”, the 10th November 1984.
Leong Chee Woh has written four books which are featured separately :
He has also kindly provided us with a collection of photographs from his days in the Police Service. Please click on the titles below to access each item.
Receiving his first commendation 1956.
Negotiating with the CTs (at Gunong Rapat) 1958.
As Deputy Superintendent of Police 1963.
Patrolling the Jungles of Temerloh 1963.
CT Ambush in Betong (Thailand)1965.
On Patrol at Betong (Thailand) 1966.
Negotiating with the CTs (at Sibu) 1973.
Briefing at Kuala Lipis 1981.
Additional photographs recently provided will also be added to this entry in due course.
To read about the Malayan Emergency, click here.
To read about Operation Ginger, click here.
To read an article about various Special Branch Operations, click here.