Friday, August 7, 2009

Teoh inquest: Live Updates (Day 3)

It is Day 3 of the inquest on the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

11.45am: At his press conference, Gobind Singh Deo says that Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas, Tan Hock Chuan (acting for the A-G), and lawyers representing the family, Selangor government and Bar Council had a site inspection of the premises.

He says they visited all the areas said to have been visited by Teoh Beng Hock, including the 14th, 15 and fifth floors of Plaza Massalam.

During the process, many questions were asked, Gobind said, adding that he also asked the police to conduct further investigations on certain areas and certain items that the lawyers thought were significant.

11.17am: Gobind Singh Deo, representing the family of Teoh Beng Hock, gives a press conference outside Plaza Masalam.

11.15am: Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas and most of the lawyers leave the building; Azmil Muntapha gets into his car. The inquest proceedings end for today.

11.07am: Inquest officials take stairs from fifth to fourth floor of Plaza Masalam. Next stop is the security room, where they are believed to be viewing CCTV footage.

10.50am: Lawyers representing Teoh’s family and the Selangor government head towards the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam where his body was found on July 16.

10.05am: Reporters outside the Plaza Masalam building can see the Coroner and lawyers peering out of window on 14th floor from which Teoh Beng Hock purportedly fell.

10am: Press splits into two groups. One group waits in front of MACC office, the other heads down to the 5th floor where Teoh Beng Hock’s body was found on July 16. Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas, lawyer Tan Hock Chuan (acting for the A-G), and family and Bar Council lawyers remain inside the MACC office. The press are still not allowed to enter the office.

9.55am: Tan Hock Chuan, representing the Attorney-General, arrives at the Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam and enters the MACC office.

9.50am: Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas arrives at the Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, heads towards 14th floor of the building where lawyers, court officials and police are waiting at the MACC office.

9.45am: Lawyers, court officials and police head towards the 14th floor where the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is located as part of their site visit.

9.35am: Press members gather in front of MACC office on 14th floor of the Plaza Masalam.

9.20am: Lawyers representing the family of Teoh Beng Hock -- Gobind Singh Deo, Ram Karpal and Lim Lip Eng -- arrive at the Plaza Masalam.

9.20am: Investigating officer ASP Ahmad Nazri Zainal arrives.

9.10am: Lawyers for the Bar Council arrive at the Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam to examine the site where the political aide was found dead on July 16.

9am: More than 10 policeman are seen at the lobby of Plaza Masalam. It starts raining heavily.

8.35am: A police patrol car arrives and parks outside Plaza Masalam; the sky turns dark and dark clouds gather.

8am: Reporters start gathering outside Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam for site visit.

SHAH ALAM: The third day of the inquest into the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock began with a site visit to the Plaza Masalam building where he was found dead on July 16.

Teoh, 30, who was the political secretary to Seri Kembangan assemblyman and executive council member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the fifth-floor corridor of Plaza Masalam where the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office is located.

He had gone to the MACC office on the 14th floor of the building a day earlier to be questioned about the disbursement of state funds.

The Government has called for an inquest into his death, after which a Royal Commission of Inquiry will be established to look into the inquest’s findings as well as the procedures and techniques used by the MACC in its questioning of Teoh.

The inquest before Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas at the Magistrates Court here will see a total 97 witnesses including Teoh’s family members, colleagues and MACC officers involved in questioning Teoh the day before his death.

On Thursday, the inquest heard that it was possible that force had been exerted on Teoh just before he died, causing a rupture on his belt, suggesting that his death could be “not accidental.”

Dr Seah Lay Hong, a DNA scientist from the Chemistry Department, said it was “one of the many possibilities” that Teoh may have been held back by the belt for the tear to have occurred.

She was cross-examined by Gobind Singh Deo, who held a watching brief for Teoh’s family.

Earlier, Dr Seah said that swabs from Teoh’s damaged belt had the DNA of two other unknown males apart from his own.

The DNA profiles of 157 individuals were compared with that of the two unknown males but none of them matched, she said.

Questioned by Tan Hock Chuan, who is counsel appointed by the Government to assist coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas, whether she had swabbed for contact DNA testing, Dr Seah said she had swabbed areas on clothing items belonging to Teoh.

Earlier Thursday, chemists Saiful Fazamil Mohd Ali and Zaihara Awang and Plaza Masalam security guard Abdul Rahman Rahim took the stand.

The inquest on Wednesday saw six witnesses -- four from the security personnel of Plaza Masalam (including Abdul Rahman), one technician at the plaza, and one policeman from the Shah Alam district police department -- testifying.

Follow The Star Twitter for updates of the inquest.

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