Teoh Beng Hock group cries foul over change in direction of police investigations

Members of the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy handing over a memorandum at the Bukit Aman police headquarters in January, calling for the investigation to be reopened.

PETALING JAYA: A group dedicated to seeking justice for political aide Teoh Beng Hock today urged the Cabinet and Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to explain why the police are now investigating his death under wrongful confinement and not culpable homicide.

In a statement, the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy said it was shocked to hear that Selangor police had called Teoh’s sister, Lee Lan, to give a statement under Section 342 of the Penal Code, reportedly under Thomas’ instructions.

Section 342 states: “Whoever wrongfully confines any person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with a fine which may extend to RM2,000, or both.”

The group’s chairman Ng Geok Chee said this was a complete deviation from the Court of Appeal judgment in September 2014 which ruled that “one or more unknown persons caused the death of Beng Hock, including Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers”.

“This is inconsistent with the announcement of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng that the Cabinet had ordered a fresh investigation into the death of Beng Hock,” Ng added.

He said the group, along with the Malaysian Bar, had recommended that the MACC officers involved be prosecuted under Section 304 for culpable homicide which could see the perpetrators serving up to 30 years in jail.

“The appellate court judgment clearly stated that the injury on Beng Hock’s neck existed prior to his fall, so it is an indisputable fact that Beng Hock was killed in the office of Selangor MACC,” he said.

He said the police should investigate whether the MACC officers caused Teoh’s death instead of only looking into the procedural responsibility of the officers in question.

“The Cabinet must explain whether the change of investigation direction of the police got the nod of the Cabinet.

“Attorney-General Tommy Thomas must clarify why he completely ignored the core issue of political murder in directing the re-investigation and turned a blind eye to the violation of human rights caused by MACC,” he added.

Ng said the group had written three times to Thomas to request an appointment to provide him with details of the case.

“Nevertheless, he did not respond at all. We regret such inadequate due diligence which was common under the previous Barisan Nasional administration.”

In 2009, Teoh, who was the political aide to then-Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, hours after he was interrogated by Selangor MACC in its office on the 14th floor of the same building.

A royal commission of inquiry concluded that Teoh was driven to suicide by the aggressive interrogation methods used by MACC officers. It also blamed three officers for their aggressive methods which it said had violated procedures.

Last July, it was reported that the police would comply with instructions from the Attorney-General’s Chamber to conduct further investigations into Teoh’s death.