Why wrongful confinement and not homicide probe in Beng Hock’s case? DAP MP asks AG

Ramkarpal said he had spoken to a police investigator assigned to the case who confirmed the reclassification under Section 342 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Ramkarpal said he had spoken to a police investigator assigned to the case who confirmed the reclassification under Section 342 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — Attorney General Tommy Thomas must clarify why it is asking police to reinvestigate the 2009 death of former DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock while in the custody of anti-graft officials under wrongful confinement instead of homicide, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said today.

The lawyer, who is also representing the family of the late Teoh, said he will write formally to the AG tomorrow.

“It is utterly disappointing for the matter to be investigated for a much lesser offence of wrongful confinement when the Court of Appeal had clearly indicated in its judgment that there was evidence of homicide surrounding Teoh’s death,” he said in a statement.

Ramkarpal said he had spoken to a police investigator assigned to the case who confirmed the reclassification under Section 342 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement.

“It must be emphasised that the findings of the said Court of Appeal were based on the evidence established in the inquiry into Teoh’s death.

“As such, there can be no doubt that such findings were as a result of the testimonies of various witnesses and expert opinions, particularly in relation to injuries noted on Teoh’s body, from the said inquiry that was considered by the court.

“If the Court of Appeal found evidence of homicide, how is it that the AGC did not?” he asked.

He added that Teoh’s sister, Teoh Lee Lan, had been asked to provide a statement in the fresh investigation.

Under Section 342 of the Penal Code, 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.

A group calling itself the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy had highlighted the issue.

It urged the authorities to reopen investigations into the 10-year-old case under Section 304 for culpable homicide which could see the perpetrators serving up to 30 years in jail.

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 the Selangor officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in its state headquarters, then 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 Chambers to conduct further investigations into Teoh’s death.