Teoh Beng Hock’s death: Police to continue probe by calling in key witnesses again, home minister says

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — The police will call up key witnesses again for its continuing investigation on the late political aide Teoh Beng Hock’s 2009 death, Home Minister Senator Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said today.

In an update on Teoh’s case, the minister said the police reopened investigation papers into the death under Section 342 of the Penal Code for wrongful confinement, following the Cabinet’s 2018 decision.

“That investigation paper has been returned by the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) to the investigating officer on January 6, 2023.

“The police have been asked to carry out recording of further statements of important witnesses before resubmitting that investigation paper to the AGC for further instructions,” the minister said in a written parliamentary reply today.

“In relation to that, the police will summon those witnesses again to complete the investigation paper and I do not intend to give further comments about this case to prevent it from affecting investigations.”

The minister was replying to Raub MP Chow Yu Hui, who had asked about the status of the reinvestigation on Teoh’s case since 2018 and enquired about the unity government’s willingness to set up a new investigation team to probe the case under either Section 302 or Section 304 of the Penal Code.

Section 302 states the punishment for the offence of murder, which is the death penalty.

Section 304 is in relation to the offence of “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”, and also states the penalty of a jail term and fine or both, with the imprisonment length depending on if the act was done with the intention of or knowledge that it is likely to cause death or bodily injury likely to cause death.

On July 16, 2009, Teoh was found dead on the fifth-floor landing of the Plaza Masalam building in Shah Alam, after having been questioned as a witness and held overnight at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office on the 14th floor of that building.

On January 5, 2011, the Shah Alam Coroner’s Court gave an open verdict for Teoh’s case and said it was not due to suicide or murder and no third party was involved in his death, while the Royal Commission of Inquiry on July 21, 2011 said his death was due to suicide.

On September 5, 2014, the Court of Appeal’s three-judge panel unanimously ruled that Teoh’s death “was caused by multiple injuries from a fall from the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam as a result of or which was accelerated by an unlawful act or acts of person or persons unknown, inclusive of MACC officers who were involved in the arrest and investigation of the deceased.”

Separately, four of Teoh’s family members — his parents, his then fiancee and his son — had on October 30, 2012 filed a civil lawsuit claiming for compensation over sadness, loss of dependency and negligence by MACC and 13 others over his death.

On May 12, 2015, the defendants — 10 MACC officers, the MACC and the Malaysian government — settled the civil lawsuit by agreeing to pay Teoh’s family RM600,000 in damages and RM60,000 in cost and admitted to negligence on their part resulting in Teoh’s death.

On January 4, 2022, Teoh’s parents filed a lawsuit through a judicial review application, to ask the court to compel the police to complete investigations into his 2009 death.

The High Court on June 6, 2022 granted leave for the lawsuit to be heard, and will be hearing the actual case on June 6 this year.