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Teoh may have been dragged, inquest told

SHAH ALAM, 13 Aug 2009: Political aide Teoh Beng Hock might have been dragged before he was found sprawled facedown and dead on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam here on 16 July 2009.

Investigating officer Chief Inspector Mazli Jusoh, 31, from the Selangor police headquarters’ forensic branch, told the inquest into Teoh’s death today that he did not dismiss that possibility after he was shown the friction marks on the sole of Teoh’s right shoe found at the scene of the incident.

Mazli agreed with the suggestion by lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who is holding a watching brief for the Selangor government, that the friction marks had an important implication.

Malik asked again: “Is it possible that the deceased could have been dragged?”

Mazli: “No, because normally, if a person is being dragged from behind, he would resist with his heels.”

Malik: “If he was dragged from the side?”

Mazli: “Yes.”

Mazli then explained to coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas that the friction marks that exposed a piece of cloth stuck to the shoe sole was not a foreign material but was part of the shoe itself and could not be removed.

However, he admitted that he did not check the friction marks, but he did inspect the scene of the incident and found nothing that matched the material glued to the shoe.

When asked by lawyer Richard Wee, who is also holding a watching brief at the inquest, whether there was something sharp at the window on the 14th floor of the building which could cause a tear to the victim’s pants, Mazli said no.

He said he also did not find any fabric threads at the window frame on the 14th floor, where the Selangor headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is located.

He testified further that the 0.6m-wide window, located 0.9m high from the floor, could be easily climbed over, but he found no shoe marks on the window frame and its glass pane during inspection.

He said as the window frame and pane were dusty, the result from the dusting method for finger prints was negative.

Earlier, the coroner was shown the case exhibits taken from the scene of the incident by the forensic team. These included a pair of white pants torn at the back and with dry blood stains, shoes, a wristwatch band and mark samples taken from the sofa and window on the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam.

Mazli also told the inquest that during the scene inspection on 16 July, he found a tooth near the victim’s body, a dent mark on the floor where the body was found, and a dent mark on the window frame and indication of a broken window latch on the 14th floor.

Teoh, 30, the political aide to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah was found dead on the 5th floor of Plaza Masalam after giving his statement to the Selangor MACC in its investigation into alleged misuse of state allocations.

Several tests not done

Later in the afternoon, Mazli told the inquest several important tests were not done at the place where Teoh’s body was found.

Mazli said he also did not examine the body for fingerprints, or the clothes and belt Teoh wore during the incident.

Mazli said he also did not take measurements to determine where the chalk marks on the sole of Teoh’s right shoe came from.

“It’s not my job to examine the body,” said Mazli, 31, from the Selangor police headquarters forensic branch.

Asked by Malik Imtiaz why no analysis was done on the black stain on Teoh’s pants to check if it was a match to the dent in the floor where the body was found, Mazli said: “Not done.”

“So, the black stain on his pants was caused by the floor was only an assumption?” Malik asked, to which Mazli agreed.

Mazli also testified that no tests were done to compare scratch marks on the window at the 14th floor where the MACC office is with Teoh’s belt.

Malik Imtiaz: “Was dusting [for fingerprints] done on the wall outside the window at level 14?”

Mazli: “No, I only checked visually [by looking out the window].”

He said that he took two swab samples from the sofa where Teoh was sitting and lying in the office but did not do a polylight test. A polylight test was also not done on the fifth floor where Teoh’s body was found.

No signs of struggle

Another witness from the Cheras police forensics department told the inquest today that no signs of struggle could be found at the window where Teoh was believed to have fallen from.

DSP Sharul Othman Mansor, 47, said he also failed to find any evidence on the walls near the window that could be linked to Teoh’s death.

Sharul also said that the window at the MACC office was not locked as the locking mechanism had been broken.

“I found the window unlocked because the locking mechanism was broken, what was left was only the base of the lock. There were also marks of a newly broken screw,” he said when questioned by government-appointed lawyer Tan Hock Chuan.

Asked whether he lifted fingerprints from the window, he said he did not because it had been done by the Selangor forensics division.

He explained that he was at the scene three days after the incident and he believed that the area was already contaminated.

On the shoeprint found under the window, he said it was nine inches long but was not clear.

He said he also checked the MACC’s main meeting room where Teoh was interrogated and the room where Teoh’s statement was recorded, but did not find any evidence there.

He said that besides the window, wall and the two rooms, he also did not find any evidence in Teoh’s car, an Avanza.

The inquest continues tomorrow. — Bernama

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