Lai Teck

Politician, Person

1901 –


Who is Lai Teck?

Lai Teck was a leader of the Communist Party of Malaya and Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army. A Vietnamese of mixed Sino-Vietnamese descent, Prior to his arrival in Malaya, Lai Teck was believed to have led his life as Truong Phuoc Dat until 1934, during which Dat disappeared and Lai Teck appeared.

Lai Teck was a shadowy character whose real name and background are unknown. According to his successor, Chin Peng: He curiously chose the party alias 'Wright' which, given the Chinese pronunciation of English words beginning with the letter 'r' soon became distorted to Lai Te. This was further mangled, depending on who was writing or speaking English, to 'Loi Teck', 'Lai Teck' and 'Lighter'.

Lai Teck was believed to have served the French as a spy in Indo-China but been uncovered. It was subsequently alleged that he was recruited by the British security services and brought to Singapore in 1934 to infiltrate the CPM. In 1938, he became the Secretary-General of the Malayan Communist Party. At this he was highly successful, and by using the British police to pick off his rivals within the Party he rose through the hierarchy and attained the Party leadership in April 1939. Perhaps because of this, he steered the Party on a course of non-confrontation with the British and wholly embraced the Communist International's new line of cooperation with the United States and the Western European powers against Nazi Germany and Japan.

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Also known as
  • Lai Tek

on July 23, 2013


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