Will anyone ever be charged for Teoh Beng Hock’s death?

(FMT) – A group dedicated to seeking justice for the late political aide Teoh Beng Hock has questioned if anyone implicated in causing his death 10 years ago would ever be charged in court.

A spokesman for the Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy noted that “nothing much” had been announced by the police apart from four witnesses being called to have their statements recorded, almost a year after the Cabinet decided to reopen investigations into Teoh’s death.

“Until now, there has been no information relayed to us and Teoh’s family about the case being reopened,” added the spokesman, Ng Yap Hwa. “We already asked the police to be open and transparent about the case.”

He also found it odd that only one Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission officer has been called up by the police for questioning, as Putrajaya recently confirmed. “I wonder why.”

Speaking to FMT, Ng said there had been arrests made in the Seafield case where a fireman had died, yet similar action had not been carried out in the Teoh case.

Teoh, 30, was the political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah of the DAP. Teoh was found dead on July 16, 2009, on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam where he had been giving a statement at the Selangor MACC office on the 14th floor of the building .

“The police should let us know what is the progress on this, whether they are following the Court of Appeal ruling that select MACC officers should be arrested and what charges are they preparing to bring,” he added.

A royal commission of inquiry into Teoh’s death in 2011 had stated that at least three MACC officers should be charged. It concluded that Teoh had been driven to suicide due to the aggressive interrogation methods used by MACC officers. Three investigating officers involved had continuously questioned Teoh, using aggressive, inappropriate methods and had violated procedures.

In 2014, the Court of Appeal ruled that Teoh’s death was a result of, or was accelerated by, an unlawful act or acts of persons unknown, inclusive of MACC officers who were involved in his arrest and investigation.

Ng said his group was disappointed with the federal government for not forming a joint task force with members of Suhakam (the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia), and human rights watchdog Suaram as proposed by the group.

“We told the government that they could not let the police investigate this issue alone as the police showed they failed to investigate Teoh’s death at least twice. “We also recommended that independent people should also come together to decide which approach should be adopted in the re-investigation,” he added.

“But, the government ignored our demands.”

He said police officers at the inquest into Teoh’s death in 2009 had been “very unprofessional, not neutral, and did not go into the details of the case”.

The Court of Appeal implicated the MACC in having a role to play in Teoh’s death and the Inspector-General of Police was asked to reopen the case. “But after 20 months of investigations by the police, they ended up just saying there was no criminal elements in his death. How can their second investigation contradict the court finding?

The Bar Council had also recommended that five MACC officers be investigated for culpable homicide.

Ng remained hopeful that charges would be brought against those implicated.

“Someone has to be accountable for Teoh’s death. But if the original police team is tasked with investigating it again, then I would not be as confident (of justice being served),” he said.