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The Khaw family is very important in the history of Ranong. Khaw Soo Cheang was a Chinese immigrant from Zhangzhou, Fujian Province. He was an officer of the Small Knives Secret Society, which was fighting to restore the Ming Dynasty. His other name was Khaw Teng Hai, and his alias was Khaw Soo Cheang. In 1810 he arrived in Penang, staying in Sungai Tiram about one kilometre from the present Bayan Lepas International Airport, where he was a small-scale vegetable farmer. Once a week Khaw Soo Cheang took his produce to Jelutong to sell. Khaw Soo Cheang eventually started a small sundries shop business under the name of Koe Guan. He started trading along the coast of southern Thailand. Khaw Soo Cheang had six sons: Khaw Sim Cheng, Khaw Sim Kong, Khaw Sim Chua, Khaw Sim Khim, Khaw Sim Teik, and Khaw Sim Bee. Sim Cheng is believed to have been born to his China wife. Sim Kong, Sim Chua, Sim Khim and Sim teik were sons of his wife Sit Kim Lean, who is buried in Ranong. The youngest son was born one of his numerous Thai wives.

Khaw Soo Cheang diversified into tin mining, shipping and hiring immigrant labourers. In 1844, he was appointed the Royal Collector of tin royalties in the Ranong, and receiving the royal title Luang Ratanasethi. In 1854 King Rama IV Mongkut made him governor of Ranong and elevated him to the higher noble rank of Phra. Ranong was subordinate to Chumphon province, but in 1864 was elevated to full provincial status. Khaw Soo Cheang thus was elevated to a Phraya. He successfully defended the new province against invasion by the Burmese, who sought to annexe it for its tin. The Khaw family became close to the Thai royal court, especially Prince Damrong Rajanupap, who stayed at the family home in Penang, named Chakrabong in honour of the Thai royal family. In 1872 Khaw Soo Cheang, then 81 years old, returned to China where he married a 18-year-old wife. Before the voyage he made his will. However, he survived to live another ten years.

The eldest son, Khaw Sim Cheng, died before his father. The second son, Khaw Sim Kong, succeeded him as the governor of Ranong in 1874. In 1896 Sim Kong became commissioner of the Monthon of Chumphon. His fourth son, Sim Khim, became governor of Kraburi, and the fifth son, Sim Teik, became governor of Langsuan. Khaw Sim Bee, the youngest son, Ratsadanupradit Mahison Phakdi became governor of Trang, and in 1900 commissioner of Monthon Phuket. The Khaw family founded a steamship company known as the Eastern Shipping Company. They also formed, the Eastern Trading Company which they tried unsuccessfully to list on the stock exchange. Their business empire also included Tongkah Harbour, the first Asian company involved in dredging the harbour floor for tin ( a publicly listed company ). The Penang branch of the family were also one of the founders of an insurance company known as Khean Guan Insurance .

In his will dated 1872 Khaw Soo Cheang divided his estate into 16 parts, of which 15 parts were distributed to his descendants. One-sixteenth was used to set up Koe Guan Kong Lun, the family trust, which came into existence in 1905. Under the terms of the Trust Deed, it was stated that 21 years after the death of the last person whose name appeared in the Trust deed the trust would be vested.