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EAIC: SOP not followed in two custodial death cases

19 Jan 2018

 

S Balamurugan died due to police brutality and negligence but Soh Kai Chiok’s death cannot be linked to any police officer, says EAIC chairman A Aziz A Rahim

KUALA LUMPUR: The police failed to follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) when handling detainees S Balamurugan and Soh Kai Chiok, who both died in police custody, according to the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) today.
 
However, EAIC chairman A Aziz A Rahim said that while Balamurugan’s death was due to police brutality and negligence, the same could not be said of Soh.
 
He said EAIC’s inquiry into Balamurugan’s case showed that there was brutality from police officers in charge of the case that caused his death.
 
“We have urged the AG’s Chambers to take up the case as a criminal offence, and we have been told that an inspector was charged at the Klang Magistrate’s Court last October and the case is still ongoing,” he told reporters here.
 
“(As for Soh’s case) our findings concluded that the death of Soh Kai Chiok cannot be linked to any police officer nor can it be said that the police had used force on him,” he added.
 
Aziz said that based on witness statements and a report from forensic expert Dr Nor Zaimah Mohamad Idris of the Hospital Tengku Ampuan Afzan, Soh’s death was due to ‘peritonitis due to perforated peptic ulcer’.
 
“There was failure to address the victim’s complaint when he told the officers in charge that he was in pain. This had caused his health to deteriorate and also denied his right for access to medical help.
 
“EAIC opined that the officers at the Triang police station and Bera district police station had failed to follow the Inspector General of Police’s Standing Orders (IGSO) as well as the PDRM SOP of Lock-up Management 2014 when they were dealing with the victim,” he said.
 
“We view both incidents as a serious matter and the deaths of the two victims could have been avoided if the SOPs were followed,” Aziz said.
 
Failure to follow SOP
 
Elaborating on Balamurugan’s case, Aziz said the police had also failed to follow the SOP when arresting the victim together two other suspects.
 
Police again failed to follow the SOP when they did not release Balamurugan even though there was an order from the court to take Balamurugan to hospital.
 
“We also found that there was a gross error by the police by not releasing Balamurugan when the court itself had rejected a remand application by them. The court even ordered the police to take the victim to hospital but the police completely ignored the order.
 
“When the arrest was made, the police did not follow the procedure by cuffing a juvenile suspect and placed him in a lock-up with other adult criminals,” Aziz stated.
 
Balamurugan was found dead in a detective’s room at the Klang Utara district police station on Feb 7, a day after he was allegedly beaten by several police officers at a police station in Bandar Baru Klang.
 
The two suspects arrested together with Balamurugan have been called to testify and both said they were beaten by serious crime unit (D9) officers. They also claimed that Balamurugan was hit by the officers.
 
During the first hearing, Balamurugan’s niece Noor Anizah Abdullah told the inquiry that his uncle pleaded for help and mercy.
 
Anizah said she heard her uncle’s pleading when she and her aunt Natthanan Yoochomsuk (Balamurugan’s wife) arrived at the Bandar Baru Klang police station.
 
Pathologists from two hospitals concluded that Balamurugan’s death was caused by coronary artery disease with multiple blunt force.
 
In Soh’s case, he was reportedly found unconscious in his cell at 12.15am on Jan 18, 2017.
 
A Bernama report quoted Bera police chief DSP Mansor Samsudin as saying that post-mortem results showed an ulcer the size of a 50-sen coin was found in Soh’s intestine.
 
Mansor said police had followed all procedures, including providing food, treatment and medication, as well as followed the fixed sleeping hours.
 
The victim, he said, had previous records under Section 15 (1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and was detained for stealing bananas.
 
Source: Berita Daily