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Police, govt not culpable for fatal shooting of goldsmith, rules High Court

Chen's widow Leong Seok Cheng (centre) discussing the decision with her counsels M. Kulasegaran (right) and Cheong Chee Khing (left) at the Ipoh High Court, February 14, 2018. ― Picture by Marcus PheongChen's widow Leong Seok Cheng (centre) discussing the decision with her counsels M. Kulasegaran (right) and Cheong Chee Khing (left) at the Ipoh High Court, February 14, 2018. ― Picture by Marcus PheongIPOH, Feb 14 ― The High Court here has ruled that the former Perak police chief and the government were not responsible for the acts of a police officer who fatally shot a gold trader in 2009.

High court judge Justice Datuk Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali reversed a 2015 decision by the Ipoh Sessions Court, which found the government culpable for former Chief Inspector Mohd Taufik Peter Abdullah’s actions and ordered it to pay RM200,000 in damages to gold trader Chen Fun Kee's family.

Che Mohd Ruzima ruled that former Perak police chief Datuk Zulkifli Abdullah and the government could not be held responsible for the criminal actions of Mohd Taufik nine years ago.

Mohd Taufik was an accomplice in the fatal shooting of Chen during a robbery at the latter's store between 3.30pm and 5.10pm on September 16, 2009.

In his oral judgment, Che Mohd Ruzima said the police and government could not be held responsible for the shooting because Mohd Taufik was not on duty at the time of the incident.

Che Mohd Ruzima said the inspector had informed his superior beforehand that he wanted to visit his ailing wife's relative in Teluk Intan before heading to Chen's shop to commit a robbery. 

“A firearm issued for official duty was used to fire a shot, and worst of all, this caused a death. Police should be preventing robberies instead of committing them.

“However, there was no operation or investigation at the store and he was not there on official duty.

“The government cannot have known of his intentions and had no basis to anticipate them. His actions were based on personal motivations and the government cannot be made responsible for them.”

In the initial 2015 decision, the Ipoh Sessions Court also awarded Chen's family RM200,000 in damages. This however, was rendered academic by today's decision.

Chen's widow Leong Seok Cheng was present to hear the decision, accompanied by her counsels  M. Kulasegaran, N. Selvam, Omar Kutty and Cheong Chee Khing.

“I feel it is unfair. My husband was only 43 when he was taken away from us, and he was a good father, husband and family man,” Leong told reporters after the decision.

“Now I have to take care of our 18-year-old daughter and his parents. It is not an easy job.”

Kulasegaran, who is also Ipoh Barat MP, said that he would discuss the possibility of appealing the decision in the Court of Appeal with his client.

“I also brought this up in Parliament, and I was told that the authorities would visit Chen's family to console them.

“However, there has been no visit. Why discriminate against her?” he questioned. 

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