Woman awarded RM184,000 for son’s death in police custody

Cheah-Chin-Lee_law

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today awarded damages totalling RM149,000 to a woman whose son died while in police custody in 2012, ruling that his death was due to police negligence.

Judge Abdul Wahab Mohamed also ordered all the defendants named in the suit, including the then Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar, then People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) director-general Mustafa Ibrahim, and the government to pay costs of RM35,000 to the woman, Lim Gaik Suan, 71, and the victim’s sister, Cheah Saw Imm, 51.

In the judgment, Wahab said Cheah Chin Lee was in the defendants’ custody at that time and it was the responsibility of the defendants to ensure that the victim was not injured.

He also awarded the two plaintiffs – Lim and Saw Imm – RM114,000 in funeral expenses and RM20,000 in exemplary damages.

Lim and Saw Imm filed the suit in September 2015 claiming that Chin Lee’s death was due to negligence.

They named 17 defendants, who were all represented by senior federal counsel Rahazlan Afandi Abdul Rahim.

Besides the former IGP and former Rela DG, 12 policeman and two Rela members, were also named as defendants.

In March last year, coroner L Umma Devi, who heard the inquest on Chin Lee’s death, ruled that he hanged himself.

Chin Lee was detained by the police at midnight on Aug 13 for an investigation into a motorcycle theft. He was found hanged five hours after being placed at the Tanjung Tokong police lock-up.