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Group demands reason for reclassifying Beng Hock's death probe

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A group seeking justice for Teoh Beng Hock today demanded an explanation from the attorney-general on the reclassification of the police investigation into Teoh's death in 2009.

Teoh Beng Hock Trust For Democracy chairperson Ng Geok Chee said they learnt that police have reopened their investigation into the political aide's death under Section 342 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement.

This, Ng said in a statement, went against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in 2014, which ruled that one or more unknown persons, including MACC officers,  caused the death of Teoh.

"This is in stark contrast to the recommendations of the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy and Malaysian Bar that those MACC officers involved should be prosecuted under Section 304 (of the Penal Code) for culpable homicide so that upon conviction, the perpetrators will serve a jail term of up to 30 years, and there is no limit on the fine.

"The appellate court judgment clearly stated that the injury on Teoh's neck had existed prior to his fall, so it is an indisputable fact that Teoh was killed in the office of Selangor MACC.

"The police should investigate whether the MACC officers caused the death of Teoh, rather than avoid it and only investigate the procedural responsibility of the MACC officers," Ng said in the statement released to media this afternoon.

Ng Geok Chee (standing) [filepix]

According to him, the group learned about the reclassification of the investigation after police summoned Beng Hock's sister, Lee Lan, last week to facilitate their investigation under Section 342.

The police wanted to record a statement from her. Her lawyer then called the police to check on this with them, but the police then said that there was no need to give a statement now.

Lee Lan echoed Ng in criticising the police for reopening the investigation under Section 342 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement.

"Police said they received the order from the attorney-general to reopen the investigation.

"Due to our disagreement with the section they quoted, we asked our lawyer to convey our position and follow up with the police. We also told the attorney-general the same thing," she said.

"We insist the section that the police quoted for reopening the investigation, will affect the direction, approach and result of the investigation as a whole."

According to the Court of Appeal judgement on Sept 5, 2014, Beng Hock's case was obviously a murder case, Lee Lan stressed.

“We hope that the police will reinvestigate the case under the Criminal Code.”

Ng called on Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (photo above) to clarify this matter. He also called on the cabinet to explain whether the reclassification of the investigation had 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."

Meanwhile, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh questioned the Attorney General Chambers' decision on the reclassification of the investigation and sought an explanation too.

"If the Court of Appeal found evidence of homicide, how is it that the Attorney General’s Chambers did not?

"After all, the evidence considered by the Court of Appeal was the same as that considered by the AGC.

"In the circumstances, the AG must explain why investigations are now being done under section 342, and not for homicide?" he said, adding that he will formally write to the attorney-general on behalf of Teoh's family.

Ramkarpal said it's disappointing to see the matter now being investigated for a much lesser offence when the Court of Appeal had clearly indicated in its judgment that there was evidence of homicide surrounding Teoh's death.

In June last year, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the cabinet agreed to re-open investigations into the death of Beng Hock, who was a former political aide to DAP Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah.

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.

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