Only civil suit is over in Beng Hock case, not criminal action, says DAP Youth

Teoh Beng Hock.

PETALING JAYA: DAP Youth today pointed out that there is a difference between a civil suit and a criminal case in connection with the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

Its deputy chairman and Tanah Rata state assemblyman Chiong Yoke Kong, in a statement today, said Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should be clear about this difference.

He said on Dec 5, 2015, the previous BN government had admitted in court to negligence on their part resulting in Teoh’s death in the civil suit brought by Teoh’s family against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and paid Teoh’s family RM660,000, including RM60,000 in costs.

“Nevertheless, this was merely a civil suit, with compensation paid by the government.

“The real culprits are still at large.

“Anyone can file a civil suit, but only the Attorney-General’s Chambers and law enforcement agencies can pursue and bring the culprits to justice under a criminal investigation.

“We must set the record straight as Teoh’s death was homicide, hence it is a criminal case.

“The civil suit settlement does in no way signal the end of the criminal case,” Chiong said.

As this is a serious crime, it can only end with the real culprits being brought to justice, he added.

Earlier today, Muhyiddin had said the government had exhausted all legal processes to investigate Teoh’s death, including setting up a royal commission of inquiry and paying compensation to his family.

“We have gone through almost all legal processes, including setting up an RCI and paying compensation. From that perspective, actually, this should no longer be an issue.

“The family is not satisfied even though they have accepted the compensation; they are still urging for more action.

“So I would pass this matter to the attorney-general to make the appropriate decision.”

Yesterday, a group dedicated to seeking justice for Teoh urged the Cabinet and AG Tommy Thomas to explain why the police are now investigating his death under wrongful confinement and not culpable homicide.

The Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy’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 MACC officers”.

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 RCI 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.