Attorney-General praised for rejecting police investigations into the death of air-condition mechanic in police lock-up


by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, October 11, 1995:

Attorney-General praised for rejecting police investigations into the death of air-condition mechanic in police lock-up in Jalan Ipoh on May 12 and calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the death of Lee Guat Leonq as well as in all cases of police bias in investigations involving police officers.

DAP commends the Attorney-General, Datuk Mohtar Abdullah for rejecting police investigations into the death of air-condition mechanic in police lock-up in Jalan Ipoh on May 12 and ordering a judicial inquiry to establish the Identity of the perpetrators to “clear ail doubts” in connection with the case.

Mohtar made it clear that the police investigation cast, serious and grave suspicion on certain officers over the death of Lee Quat Leong, 42, who was picked up on suspicion of involvement in the muiti-million-ringgit break -in at the Mayban Finance branch office at Taman Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, in March this year where burglars dubbed the “Tunnel Rats” burrowed into the strongroom of the finance company during the Halri Raya holidays and carted away cash, jewellery and other valuables amounting to about RM30 million.

The Attorney-General expressed dissatisfaction with the police failure to identify the person or persons responsible for the death of Lee Guat Leong in the police lock-up and said that it was his “fervent hope that, the judicial inquiry will establish the identity or the perpetrator? and clear all doubts in connection with this case”.

Mohtar said he had made it clear from the onset that the police should zero in on the- perpetrators or the crime but the investigations conducted by the police was not according to directions.

He said the police first referred the investigation papers to his Chambers on June 10 but they were returned on June 19 with “specific instructions to focus their investigation on the police officer or officers who had access to the deceased at the centre.”

He said the police referred the investigation papers again to his chambers – on July 4, August 23 and Sept 5 but since the probe was still incomplete, they were subsequently returned on August.1, August.23 and Sept 11 with similar instructions.

On Sept. 30, the police submitted the final investigation papers.

Mohtar said that throughout this period, “my officers in the Prosecution Department had several extensive meetings with the police to ensure compliance with the directions given earli¬er ”.

He said the consultant forensic pathologist of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital had identified the cause of death as “subcutaneous haemorrhage consistent with blunt trauma to most parts of his bodv”

He explained: “In laymen’s term, it means the death was caused by injuries inflicted by blunt objects or weapons.”

This is the latest and most blatant case of police bias when conducting investigations against police officers as compared to opposition leaders, government critics and the ordinary rakyat, and I will add this as the seventh charge in my Indictment presented to the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor last month on police bias in police investigations.

The police had initially classified the case as “sudden death”, but the Inspector-General of police said on May 25 that a thorough probe into the case would be carried out after it was reclassified as murder.

However, events have proved that the IGP’s public assurance was meaningless,
Lee Guat Leong’s case appears to be a case of “murder in a police lock-up by police officers unknown”! How is this possible in Malaysia in the year 1995- 25 years from Vision 2020?

Police explanations to my six charges in my Indictment against Police bias in investigations completely unsatisfactory and unacceptable.

What is tragic is that this is not the only case of police bias in police investifations.
Last Saturday, I met the CID Director, Datuk Mond Said Awang and two top police officers at bukit Aman where they trjed to explain and rebut my six charges of police bias contained in my Indictment of Police Bias presented to the. JGP last month.

I told them that I found their explanations completely unsatisfactory and unaccepttable

For instance, in the case of the FRU assault of DAPSY National Secretary, Ronnie Liu, at Taman Aman, Petaling Jaya on Sept. 18 when Ronnie had tried to help the squatters who were facing demolition action of their houses, I wanted to know why no action had been taken to date to arrest and charge in court the FRU personnel responsible for the assault.

The answer was that there were conflicting versions and that the police had difficulty in ascertaining who were involved.

I told the top police officers that I found the answer most shocking, as there could be no argument that Ronnie had been severely assaulted, as he sustained a three-inch head wound, lost tremendous amount of blood and was bruised all over his body as a result baton blows rained on him by some ten FRU personnel, who repeatedly kicked and stamped on him with their boots when he fell.

Even now, Ronnie suffers from chest pains and has difficulty in breathing.
The police cannot deny that Ronnie was severely assaulted, as it was the police which later took him to the University Hospital for treatment- and chaining him to the hospital bed as if he was a lowly crimiral!

I told the top police officers that there is no dispute that Ronnie was severely assaulted by FRU personnel and that the only question was who were the FRU men who assaulted him. The FRU must be regarded as a disciplined police force, and there could be no reason for the Police three weeks after the assault to claim that they could not identify the culprits.

I said that if the police could not identify the FRU personnel who had assaulted Ronnie Liu, the entire FRU platoon should be suspended and punished for gross insurbordination until the culprits are identified and brought to book.

The Lee Guat Leong case is powerful reason why there should be an independent inquiry into Tenaganita allegations of maltreament of migrant workers at the immigration detention centres and why the police should not be investigating into itself.

The Lee Guat Leong case is powerful reason why there should be an independent inquiry into Tenaganita allegations of maltreament of migrant workers at the immigration detention centres and why the police should not be investigating into itself.

If the Attorney-General has no confidence in the police in investigations involving the police, as illustrated in the Lee Guat Leong case, how can the Police expect to have public confidence in its investigations into the Tenaganita memorandum on maltreatment of migrant workers in the immigration detention centres?

Although the Attorney-General has invoked section 339(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code to direct a magistrate to hold an inquiry into the cause of and the circumstances connected with the death of Lee Guat Leong, this may not be a satisfactory option.

As DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Jelutong, Karpal Singh, has pointed out, the magistrate’s hands would be tied as he would have to depend on Police investigations to give his verdict as to the death of Lee Guat Leong.

In the circumstances, in view of the gravity of this case, the Lengthening list of police hias in investigations involving police officers and the urgent need to restore public confidence in the independence impartiality and integrity of the Police as custodian of law and order, DAP calls on the Cabinet to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the death of Lee Guat Leong as well as into all case of police bias in police investigations involving police officers as compared to opposition leaders, government critics and the ordinary rakyat, as well as to make recommendations to restore public confidence in the Police.