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Fiji crime wave involving police & soldiers

Fiji crime wave involving police & soldiers

Wed, 14 Feb 2001 09:53:49 +1200

PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI Issue No: 476 14 February 2001

visit our website: http://www.pcgov.org.fj

Wave of crime involving police and soldiers

Since 19 May 2000, Fiji has witnessed a huge wave of criminal activity involving police and soldiers.

Reports this week show that a large number of criminal offences have been committed by law enforcement officers.

A special police constable recruited by Isikia Savua was arrested over the weekend for raping a 17-year old girl who was a passenger in the taxi which the constable was driving on a part-time basis.

Only weeks ago, the media reported that the group of special constables which Savua had recruited comprised convicted felons. Savua defended the move by saying that the ex-convicts deserved to be rehabilitated.

In another case, a former police officer and his son are now in court charged with murdering a fellow villager outside Suva.

Another policemen was taken to the Labasa High Court charged with manslaughter in 1999.

In another incident a sergeant in the army's Counter Revolutionary Warfare Unit was arrested on a bench warrant for five charges he committed last year. Antonio Celeasiga was charged with forcible entry into the Savusavu Police Station and the Labasa military barrack, robbery with violence, going armed in pubic and unlawful assembly. He is now in military custody.

In yet another incident over the weekend, a soldier who led the mutiny at Labasa military barracks in July last year, was arrested for threatening a restaurant owner in Savusavu. He earlier was convicted for damaging property in the same restaurant and had paid $30 to settle the offence. Last Friday he returned demanding the money back saying that if he didn't get the money, he would return on Monday 19 February, saying that there would be civil strife that day, and "On this day I will come and see you".

In yet another case, a solider has been arrested for being a part of the group which robbed the MH Superfresh Stores in Suva earlier this year. The robbers also included a CRW soldier on the run now, Tevita Poese.

The 6 weeks to date has seen numerous other police officers charged with criminal activities ranging from keeping for themselves stolen items recovered, receiving stolen items, larceny, and not appearing in court.

The spate of crime involving police and soldiers is seen as a direct result of the breakdown in law and order in the country, and the involvement of senior police and military officers in criminal activities around 19 May last year and since then. One police officer earlier stated: "Our pay is the lowest in Fiji while our bosses are involved in the overthrow of the elected government. The morale is very low. We don't have leadership. Incompetent people are rewarded while those who work hard are victimised. Savua again goes acting as hero on TV and newspapers, while we suffer."

END

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