lifestyle

From Escorting The Kennedys To Nabbing Felons In A Cheongsam, This Ex-Spy Has Done It All

Blossom Wong also worked in undercover operations to crack down prostitution centres in Kuala Lumpur.

Cover image via vintage KL (Tumblr) & NST Online (YouTube)

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When we think of spies, we'd think of men in suits, cool gadgets and weapons, and of course, James Bond

Image via GIPHY

So, it's quite unusual to see a female spy, especially in the 1950s, in Malaysia.

Blossom Wong broke that stereotype and kicked ass while doing it!

Image via Zaudin Saad

The 83-year-old was a badass police officer with an impressive track record throughout her time in the force.

Born as Wong Kooi Fong, to a poultry farm owner in Sungai Besi, Kuala Lumpur, Blossom was a name given to her by a neighbour because of her green thumb

Since then, the nickname 'Blossom' stuck throughout her career as a police officer and, eventually, she made it her official name, according to New Straits Times.

She secretly applied for police training in the 1950s after completing her Senior Cambridge exams, despite knowing her father wanted her to become a teacher

At that time, women mostly worked as secretaries or teachers. But Wong was a tomboy who was active in sports, debate, and geographical societies in school. 

"To me, teaching is boring, and to become a secretary, well you have to please your boss, and you cannot go out of the office. I'm an outdoor person," she told New Straits Times.

She was inspired to join the force when she saw a uniformed policewoman on Jalan Sultan Ismail, looking smart while patrolling.

"In the front seat was a lady officer and she had a cap on. She looked so smart. She looked at me and smiled and from that moment, I was sold. I would be a policewoman," she said. 

Wong also had a cheeky reason to join the force, which is to ronda around Kuala Lumpur in a police car every day.

She got in on 1 August 1957. Although police training is no walk in the park due to the strenuous exercises, Wong's hardest feat was learning Bahasa Melayu from scratch.

Nevertheless, she excelled and at the end of her six months of training, Wong was chosen to join the Special Branch (SB) as an Inspector and was positioned in Penang.

As this was before our country achieved independence, Wong was tasked with disguising herself in order to obtain information on the communist movement, as per this blog post.

Due to her petite frame, often clad in a cheongsam, she was never caught by the communists. Even the police didn't know she was a spy when she was in her disguise!

But according to Wong, the spy life was not as great as everyone thinks it was, as she wasn't able to wear the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) uniform at all

Even her social life was very boring since she wasn't allowed to hang out with other uniformed officers for fear of her identity being revealed.

Flash forward to four years later, she was granted a transfer to Ipoh and became an assistant area inspector with five police stations under her.

Wong got married in 1962 and was transferred to her hometown, Kuala Lumpur, where she became a prosecuting officer in the magistrate's and juvenile courts.

It was during this time that she was often given the responsibility of safely escorting many VVIPs and dignitaries.

Some of these famous figures were the President of South Korea's wife, Park Chung-Hee; the Prime Minister of Japan, Eisaku Sato; the Attorney General of USA Robert F. Kennedy and his wife, Ethel, and many more.

Blossom Wong (in cheongsam) escorting the Attorney General of USA Robert Kennedy in 1964.

Image via vintage KL (Tumblr)

Albert Mah, the then Kuala Lumpur district police chief, proposed that Wong join the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) unit — known as Delta 7 (D7) — in 1966

He believed the Black Market, Vice, and Gambling Branch (now known as anti-vice branch), could use Wong's undercover expertise to obtain vital information to take down the rampant illegal activities in Kuala Lumpur.

She then worked with the 'Black Cats' in undercover operations, often donning a cheongsam, to crack down prostitution centres filled with local girls, some being underage.

Wong and her team successfully raided many infamous brothels in Jalan Ampang, Jalan Walter Grenier, Jalan Alor, and many more, causing the mama-sans (pimps) to fear her.

Image via Seniors Aloud

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Hanif Omar was so impressed by the operation that he called Wong to lead PDRM's first Rape Investigation Unit

Wong and her team received training on the use of DNA technology from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, pioneering the use of DNA evidence in local criminal investigations.

She was then appointed to head the Sexual Violence, Child Abuse, and Domestic Violence Division in Bukit Aman, according to this blog post.

After spending over 36 years in the force, Wong finally retired in 1993 as a superintendent of police.

She now prefers to focus on her daughter who works as a veterinarian and has returned to her love of gardening.

Wong told New Straits Times that she never regretted being a cop. If given the opportunity, she said she is ready to go on duty!

This article is part of our Hari Kebangsaan Heroes series. You can read more about these underrated figures here:

Do you think you can follow in our founding father's footsteps? Take this fun trivia quiz to find out:

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