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Friday, September 2, 2011

Former Triad gangster Kim Goh becomes Mersey minister


Kim Goh
MERSEYSIDE'S latest vicar is an ex-Triad gangster who was sentenced to four years in jail.
The Rev Kim Goh used to be known as the "Chinese Godfather" and was the head of the Triad sect across the UK in the 1980s.
His life of crime and violence took him across the world.
But it was during his time in prison that he decided to join "God's gang" and he has been a Methodist minister for the past 11 years.
Talking about his chaotic past, Mr Goh, 62, told the ECHO: "There was a time when I chased people with an ice pick around Piccadilly Circus, and another in Spain when I chased people with machetes.
"One time I was drunk on an open top bus and just jumped off. When I woke up, I was in a hospital in Middlesex with stitches in my head. I was the first person to have a fight in the Hilton, it was in the lift going to the roof garden when some South Americans were being racist.
"Gambling was my passion, but also my weakness."
Born in Singapore, Kim left home at 18 and travelled the world, taking him across America, throughout Europe and eventually the UK, and moved his way up the UK Triad movement.
He added: "I left home as a teenager because I didn't get on with my parents, and committed crime all over the world.
"I moved into a world of lust and dope and it suited me very well.
"But then I was arrested in 1985 and sent to a category A prison in Leeds for extortion, actual bodily harm, grievous bodily harm and all kinds of things you could think of. I had more than 500 charges against me."
He was sentenced to four years, and while imprisoned, his life turned a corner when he had a personal encounter with God.
Mr Goh said: "On the first day of prison, I became a Christian. I went to the chapel to get out of my cell for an hour. I volunteered to clean as well to keep busy, I was swearing out loud and blaming God.
"But then I heard someone speak to me and say 'Kim, why are you swearing at me?'. I thought it was my fellow convicts messing about.
"I said it again and I realised it was the voice from God, and felt his presence. At that moment I saw all the bad I had done in my life flash in front of me.
"I had never been so scared and felt ashamed. Then God said 'I love you and forgive you'.
"I thought the white man's God is so powerful that he can speak to me privately? I became very defenceless and thought 'better not mess with him', so I joined his gang.
"The prisoners thought I was going around the bend and it was a scam because I had a lot of charges.
"I was sentenced to four years, but God said I should only serve one. So I appealed and the second time three judges in London accepted my appeal.
"My sentence was reduced to three years. I had served 13 months so I was released for good behaviour.
"The British government told me when I was first sentenced that I would be deported back to Singapore. But God told me I should stay in this country. Then, when I was released, a letter came from the Home Office to say I could stay in the country indefinitely. I have no idea why – I didn't appeal to stay here or anything.
"I was in shock – it was like 'wow, everything has come true'."
On his release, Mr Goh joined a church. He studied at theological college and has been a methodist minister for 11 years.
He has been married to Mary for 18 years, and has written a book, Conquering The Dragon, about his life as a Triad.
The couple arrived in Maghull recently, and this month he takes over from The Rev Andrew Longshaw as minister at the Methodist churches in Maghull, Old Roan and Fazakerley.
His last post was in Loughborough where he looked after four churches.
Mr Goh added: "I am very keen to help the community. As a Christian I think it is very important to be part of the community. We can reach out to neighbours."

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