Malaysia

Police agree to second autopsy as pressure mounts

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid and Nomy Nozwir
January 16, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — Caving in to public pressure, the police today agreed to allow a second autopsy to be performed on Chang Chin Te who died in detention on Monday under suspicious circumstances.

One of the lawyers representing the deceased’s family, Gobind Singh Deo, said the police, had conceded to the demand after it had initially snubbed the request at a meeting held this afternoon.

The meeting took place amid a small-scale protest outside Bukit Aman. Some 30 people, including Chin Te’s family members, had participated in the DAP-organised demonstration.

According to Gobind, a DAP lawmaker, the head of the legal department at Bukit Aman had later consented to the demand on condition that the hospital agrees to conduct the second autopsy at the cost of the family.

The Puchong MP said he had contacted the doctor who performed the first post-mortem to notify him of the decision by the police and is expecting the second autopsy to be conducted by tomorrow morning.

“The doctor is currently busy performing another autopsy so we are just waiting for him to reply,” Gobind told The Malaysian Insider.

Despite the agreement to allow the second post-mortem to take place, Chin Te’s father, Chang Chan Man, expressed disdain over what he described as “time-wasting” on the part of the police.

“I am not too happy. There was a lot of time wasting. From the OCPD in USJ yesterday up to today (the police was least co-operative),” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“I hope we can do the autopsy tomorrow morning. I want to get my son back (for his funeral),” said the visibly upset 60-year-old.

Chin Te died in custody while held at the USJ 8 police station on Monday, where he had been detained since last Thursday on suspicion of burglary.

His family members have alleged that they discovered wounds and bruises on his body when they went to claim the remains at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (PPUM).

The 30-year-old leaves behind a wife and four young children.

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”.

It is not known how many cases of custodial death have occurred since.

But such deaths rarely result in the prosecution of those responsible for the inmates and detainees during the incidents.

A recent case involving the custodial death of suspected car thief A. Kugan saw the prosecution of just one police officer, Constable V. Navindran, who was subsequently acquitted. No other individual has been held accountable since.

Like Chin Te, Kugan was also detained at the USJ 8 police station.

Other high-profile cases of custodial deaths include that of Teoh Beng Hock and Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed, both of whom died while under the care of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).