KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia's police chief says the death of a teenager who was allegedly assaulted for being effeminate is being investigated as a murder.
National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed the raised status of the investigation after T. Nhaveen died of his injuries on Thursday.
Five teenagers had been arrested after Nhaveen and his friend were attacked last Saturday.
Local media citing his friend, police and hospital doctors have reported that the assailants taunted Nhaveen while he and his friend were buying food after work. The reports allege they both were bashed with motorcycle helmets before the friend escaped.
His mother was quoted in local media as saying her son had been bullied by one of the suspects three years ago in school for being soft and other relatives were quoted as saying he had been targeted for refusing to join a gang.
Penang police could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
His death is the second in recent weeks to spark outrage in Malaysia about bullying. In the earlier case, navy cadet Zulfarhan Osman Zulkarnain died after he allegedly was bound, beaten and burned with an iron.