Probe into Teoh’s death not restricted to wrongful confinement, says AG

Teoh Beng Hock was found dead after he was interrogated by Selangor MACC in Shah Alam, Selangor, in 2009.

PETALING JAYA: The attorney-general has assured the family of Teoh Beng Hock, the political aide who died while in Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission custody, that the ongoing probe into his death would not be restricted to wrongful confinement.

The family’s lawyer, Ramkarpal Singh, said Tommy Thomas had informed them that the reclassification of the case as wrongful confinement and not culpable homicide “was merely administrative”.

“And (it) does not, in any way, indicate that investigations into Teoh’s death are only restricted to wrongful confinement at this stage,” the Bukit Gelugor MP said in a statement.

Ramkarpal said Thomas had revealed this at a meeting with Teoh’s family and himself at the Attorney-General’s Chambers this evening.

He said the AG and two other officers explained the status of the case to them “at length” and assured them that the probe was ongoing.

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

This was after Teoh’s sister, Lee Lan, was called 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.”

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”.

Ramkarpal said he would arrange for a meeting with the inspector-general of police to discuss the status of the investigation.

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 at 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.