Crying Foul over Reclassifying Beng Hock’s Death Probe

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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.

  • Punishment for wrongful confinement – up to one year’s jail, up to RM2k fine, or both
  • Punishment for culpable homicide – up to 30 year’s jail, no limit on fine
  • A-G needs to explain why he 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

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”.

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.

Ng called on Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to clarify the matter and he also called on the Cabinet to explain whether the re-classification of the investigation received its permission.

“Attorney-General Tommy Thomas must clarify why he had 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.”

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 June last year, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the Cabinet agreed to re-open investigations into the death of Beng Hock.

Lim had said then that the government would consult with Thomas on the next course of action.

On July 16, 2009, Teoh was found dead after falling nine floors from MACC’s former Selangor headquarters in Shah Alam, where he had been held overnight for questioning.