National

Another death in custody

While one unfair death is one death too many, 55% of deaths in police custody have resulted in no action been taken, according to statistics released by think tank REFSA. The Home Ministry in an official Parliamentary answer has revealed that at least 156 people have died in police custody from 2000 – 2011.

Skepticism on official figures is rising as more cases of custodial deaths have surfaced. A previous United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention visit to Malaysian prisons and detention centres reported that, between 2003 and 2007, “over 1,500 people died while being held by authorities”. Whereas, NGO Suaram estimates that every three days, two detainees die in custody.

The most notable ones, namely the deaths of A Kugan and Teoh Beng Hock in 2009, have caused extraordinary outcry among the public, propelling anger and fear over the exact conduct of enforcement bodies during interrogations.

The public also has questioned the suspicious cover-ups over causes of the deaths, and the suspicious lack of information released about the cases.

The death of Chang Chin Te

The nation ws shocked yet again by another news of death in police custody. On 14 January Chang Chin Te, 30 was declared dead at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) with traces of bruises, swellings and wounds detected on several parts of his body.

The deceased was a mechanic, and leaves behind a widow and four children.

According to deceased’s father, Chang Chan Man, 64, the police arrested his son on 10 January to assist investigations on a case of breaking-and-entering. The police brought the deceased to the USJ 8 Police Station in Subang Jaya, where he was held in police custody.

Four days after the arrest, on 14 January, two police officers came to the deceased’s house to inform his spouse, Lim Wei Ni that he had passed away.

The grieving father told the media, “The police informed my daughter-in-law that my son was found unconscious (in the police lock-up). They sent him to Universiti Malaya Medical Centre, PPUM for further examination, where he was declared dead.”

“However, the police did not give any answers when Lim asked about what caused her husband’s death,” Chang explained.

The results of the post mortem conducted on the deceased has yet to be revealed, but his death certificate records the cause of death as “pending investigation”.

‘Unacceptable’ death

Upon being informed of her husband’s death, the deceased’s wife and her sister rushed to the hospital to see the body. They found bleeding on the (deceased’s) ear and nose, swellings on the face, with wounds on the torso. There was a dark-coloured bruise on the chest.

While at PPUM, the deceased’s wife took a few photos of her husband’s bruised and swollen body parts.

“However, we were told that the police has forced her to delete the photos taken. Only one photo of the deceased’s face can be saved,” Lim said.

At an emergency press conference held at the deceased’s residence in Kampung Baru Subang here on 15 January, Selangor Exco, Ronnie Liu called Chang Chin Te’s death “unacceptable”.

Ronnie also asked for a serious intervention by the Inspector-General of Police to investigate and provide justice to the victim and his family.

“We have informed this case to a few lawyers, and the Member of Parliament for Puchong, Gobind Singh, who is also DAP Secretary for Legal Bureau, has agreed to provide legal advice.”

“He (Gobind) suggested a second post-mortem to be done at Hospital Sungai Buloh,” added Liu.

In relation to Gobind’s suggestion, Liu hoped that the police would give their co-operation to allow a second post-mortem to be done immediately.

Custodial demands justice

Selangor DAP Chairperson, Teresa Kok said a lot of people want to know the reason behind the sudden death, knowing that the deceased was in a healthy condition during the arrest.

Kok, also a Member of Parliament for Seputeh added, “This is why we demand a second post-mortem. I regret this unfortunate incident, is it because of police brutality?”

Meanwhile, DAP Selangor Secretary, Ean Yong Hian Wah is also worried about the recurring deaths of detainees in police custody.

“We want justice for the victims, and if there were any police officers involved, they should be held responsible. What is crucial now is that we have a quick and independent investigation on the case,” Yong said.

State Assemblyman for Kota Damansara, Dr Nasir Hashim expressed dissatisfaction with the case, pointing out that custodial deaths are “not a new thing.” Dr Nasir further stressed that such cases “should not be happening in our civilized and modern age.”

“When investigated, no one will plead guilty. We have lodged a lot of complaints before on this matter, but they seem to have fallen on death ears. It is as if the detainees were already punished before the court gives a sentence.”

“We don’t want to accuse anyone. The deceased’s family now wants and has agreed to a second post-mortem, because they are not satisfied with the report from the first post-mortem. We demand the police to investigate thoroughly,” Dr Nasir said.

The Home Ministry in a Parliamentary answer has revealed that at least 156 people have died in police custody from 2000 – 2011. Of this figure, 55% of cases ended with no action being taken.

The most notable ones, namely the deaths of A Kugan and Teoh Beng Hock in 2009, have caused extraordinary outcry among the public, propelling anger and fear over the exact conduct of enforcement bodies during interrogations.

The public also has questioned the suspicious cover-ups over causes of the deaths, and the suspicious lack of information released about the cases. – The Rocket

2 comments on “Another death in custody

  1. Pingback: The Malaysian Trojan Horse | Towards A New Malaysia

  2. Pingback: The Malaysian Trojan Horse « Lim Kit Siang

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.