Malaysian police were investigating an Islamic school teacher Monday on suspicion of beating to death a 7-year-old student accused of stealing 7 ringgit ($2.30) from a classmate.
Saiful Syazani Saiful Sopfidee slipped into a coma and died in a hospital Sunday of injuries sustained at the private school Thursday, said Mohamad Nadzri Hussain, a district police chief in Malaysia's northern Perlis state.
The student had multiple head injuries and internal bleeding after allegedly being tied to a window for two hours, beaten and strangled.
His 26-year-old teacher is in custody while the death is investigated and could be charged with murder, which carries a penalty of death by hanging on conviction, Mohamad Nadzri said.
Malaysian news reports said it was the worst known case of student abuse in at least 15 years.