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Meet The 'Super Cop' Who Survived Getting Shot 11 Times By Botak Chin

S. Kulasingam was so feared by criminals in the 70s that some of them voluntarily surrendered themselves at the mention of his name!

Cover image via Malaysian Indian History

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Shoot-outs and chases between the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and criminals were a norm on the streets in the 70s due to the high crime rate.

One such unforgettable incident involved the infamous prolific criminal, Botak Chin, attempting to kill S. Kulasingam by shooting him 11 times near Jalan Davis, Kuala Lumpur.

The 'Super Cop' not only survived the close-range attack but also managed to drive to a nearby police station to report the shoot-out. 

Some sources even say that he drove to the hospital himself despite the life-threatening injuries. But this was not his first and last assault; the policeman survived multiple attempts on his life throughout his career and lived until the age of 77 years old.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Kulasingam Sabaratnam, popularly known as DSP Kula, joined PDRM in 1951, when he was only 19 years old

Starting as a probation inspector, DSP Kula managed to climb up the ranks pretty quick and at the age of 25, he was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) in 1957, according to Astro Ulagam.

Prior to that, New Sarawak Tribune said that DSP Kula had served as a commander of the Police Field Force (PMP)'s "jungle squad" during the Malayan Emergency.

He was then appointed as Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Kuala Lumpur and also served as the CID Chief of Johor.

According to his sister, Annamah's write-up for The Star, DSP Kula was an honest and fearless officer who dedicated his life to his job. 

His track record made criminals fearful at the mere mention of his name, some of them choosing to surrender voluntarily and handing in their weapons.

But on the other side of the 'tough cop' exterior, DSP Kula was a kind-hearted man who believed in atonement. He used to entertain ex-criminals in his home as he believed that they had already paid for their crimes and did not deserve to be treated as outcasts of society.

This admirable quality earned him the respect of the underworld!

S. Kulasingam arriving as a witness to a kidnap case involving an Indonesian businessman as he arrested one of the kidnappers at Subang airport.

Image via National Archives of Singapore

He became a legend in the force for not only being involved in all kinds of serious criminal cases, but also for surviving multiple attempts on his life

DSP Kula's reputation was so huge back then that even infamous criminals like Kepong Chai — a rapist with a penchant for scarring the faces of women with a blade — were threatened by him.

Another criminal that was threatened by DSP Kula was Botak Chin, whose real name was Wong Swee Chin. 

The so-called 'Robin Hood' robbed nearly RM300,000 after shooting a security guard carrying money at the Horse Racing Club in Kuala Lumpur, according to The Vocket, who quoted Syahril A. Kadir, an ex-senior crime reporter at Utusan Malaysia who reportedly interviewed DSP Kula in the past.

His violence escalated on 22 November 1975, when he and his gang attempted to kill DSP Kula, who was the CID Chief of Kuala Lumpur at that time, at a traffic light intersection near Jalan Davis, Kuala Lumpur, as per this blog post.

They ambushed his vehicle after tailing him and started firing bullets at the policeman. It was reported that at least 11 bullets hit his vehicle, one of which shattered DSP Kula's rib, ripped through his liver, and punctured his lung, before lodging close to his spine.

Despite the life-threatening injury, DSP Kula drove himself to the Cheras police station. "The attack and the bullet that hit my chest and internal organs may have killed me at that time but I don't think my time has come yet," he said, when interviewed by Syahril.

New Sarawak Tribune stated that DSP Kula even drove to the General Hospital (now Kuala Lumpur Hospital) himself after reporting the attack at the police station.

11 shots were fired at S. Kulasingam at a traffic light junction in 1975 and one of the bullets shattered his right rib, ripped through his liver, and punctured his lung, before lodging close to his spine.

Image via Malaysian Indian History

DSP Kula returned to duty just three months after recovering from his injuries but was shot again, less than five months later, this time in the stomach during a raid in Petaling Jaya

According to Syahril, apart from being shot several times, DSP Kula was almost hit by a fallen tree, which unfortunately killed his assistant

He also nearly escaped being chopped by a raging man and nearly got shot again during separate operations in Sarawak, in which the latter killed his teammates.

Following the ambush against DSP Kula, PDRM set up a special team dubbed 'The Magnificent 12', comprising of elite police officers to track down and bring Chin to justice.

On 16 February 1676, The Magnificent 12 arrested Chin and his gang following a raid and shoot-out at a sawmill in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.

Chin was subsequently hung to death at the Pudu prison on 11 June 1981, but before that, he vowed to kill DSP Kula

Clipping of Utusan Malaysia's article on S, Kulasingam in 2002.

Image via Iluminasi

The 'Super Cop' was often described as being married to the job due to his dedication to the force and he finally retired in 1985, after 34 years in the force

He was awarded the Pingat Gagah Berani (PGB) — Malaysia's second highest award for bravery — and Ahli Mangku Negara (AMN) in recognition of his services.

Apart from his involvement in taking down Chin and his gang members, DSP Kula had also managed to take down 25 mafia groups in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Penang, Sarawak, and Brunei during the course of his career.

DSP Kula spent the rest of his life as a bachelor in Johor Bahru. In an interview with Utusan Malaysia, he said that he never married because his dangerous job required certain sacrifices.

"I did not get married because of my job, I got shot because of my job, and I suffered in pain because of my job. To me, that's enough. Whether or not people will remember me, let the history decide," he told Utusan Malaysia.

Unfortunately, his health began to deteriorate and the legendary cop passed away at 77 years old on 29 November 2007.

DSP Kula's story is part of our Hari Kebangsaan Heroes series. Check out other amazing Malaysians who contributed to the country: