Snapped belt may have cause Teoh’s death, inquest told

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

Government DNA expert Dr Seah Lay Hong told the coroner's court today that instructions from police investigators did not include the possibility of Teoh Beng Hock being murdered and had not been specifically considered in her analyses.

But she acknowledged one hypothesis surrounding Teoh's death – that unknown men could have held the DAP political aide by his belt which snapped and caused him to fall to his death.

Dr Seah said, however, that she had not been given access to photographs taken of Teoh showing the position of his body after his fall, and had to resort to her own theories to determine the cause of his death.

Under intensive questioning from lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, who represents Teoh's family, the DNA scientist said she had to form her own “hypotheses” to find out if there had been foul play in how the 30-year-old died.

Dr Seah had tested 157 people to find a match for to at least two unidentified men whose DNA profiles had been found on certain parts of the jacket and trousers worn by Beng Hock when he was found dead.

In her analysis, she noted that none of the DNA from the 157 tested matched those of Mr X, whom she had named in her report as “Male 1”. Nor did they match that of Mr X2, whom she did not name in her report.

Dr Seah noted that there was a possibility of more than two unknown males involved. In her analysis, swabs taken from a torn belt worn by Beng Hock revealed a mixture of male DNA specimens, in which she could make only the DNA profiles of Mr X – or “Male 1” as she put it – and at least one other male whose identity is unconfirmed.

Gobind then suggested to Dr Seah that one of the possible ways Beng Hock died was if he had been held by several men by his belt, which then snapped causing him to fall to his death.

“That is one of the many possibilities,” she said.

Dr Seah was the ninth witness called to the stand since the inquest started last week. She was subjected to a severe grilling from Gobind.

Gobind: Did the IO tell you he was interrogated and he could have been murdered? Dr Seah: Not in so many words.

Gobind: You mean in less words?

Dr Seah: No. He didn't say murder. It could be accidental or not accidental.

Gobind: If not accidental, doesn’t that mean murder?