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Newswatch

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, August 20, 1999



Hawaii 2000

Interisland ships deliver the goods

BEING an island state means having unique cargo transport needs.

Take the delivery of goods from one dock to another -- the lifeline of crucial products here.

In 1883, Inter-Island Steam Navigation became the first major interisland cargo carrier in Hawaii.

After it merged in 1905 with the Wilder Steamship Company, Inter-Island became the only such provider here for the next 30 years.

But in 1935, Young Brothers began tug-and-barge interisland service. By 1950, Inter-Island was closed.

Today, Young Brothers is the only exclusively interisland water common carrier, according to "Atlas of Hawaii" by Sonia and James Juvik.

Matson Lines also ships interisland, but it transfers cargo originating from elsewhere between the Hawaiian Islands.


Ousted trustee Wong seeks to divorce wife

Two months after a state judge threw out criminal charges against ousted Bishop Estate trustee Richard "Dickie" Wong and his wife Mari, Richard Wong has filed for divorce.

In divorce papers filed in Circuit Court yesterday, Wong said his marriage to Mari Stone Wong is "irretrievably broken."

The former state Senate president, who was temporarily removed as a $1 million-a-year Bishop Estate trustee, has asked for joint custody of their daughter.

An Oahu grand jury indicted Wong, Mari Wong and her brother, local developer Jeffrey Stone, for their roles in an alleged kickback scheme involving a Bishop Estate land deal.

Circuit Judge Michael Town threw out the charges in June, saying the grand jury proceedings were tainted by the improper testimony of Stone's former attorney, Richard Frunzi.

Frunzi pleaded guilty to federal money laundering charges and is serving time in a federal prison on the mainland.

Bank robbery suspect enters not guilty plea

A man who faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for firing at a police officer during a July bank robbery in Kahala pleaded not guilty yesterday to first-degree attempted murder and 16 other charges.

Judge Victoria Marks set trial for Albert Raymond Batalona for the week of Oct. 18.

Batalona, 24, was indicted on state charges Aug. 11. He was charged with 13 counts of kidnapping, first-degree robbery, two firearms offenses and first-degree attempted murder.

Batalona initially was charged in federal court with bank robbery along with three other defendants.

On Monday, federal prosecutors filed an order to dismiss the federal charge against Batalona, said assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Johnson.

Magistrate Francis Yamashita granted the order without prejudice, allowing prosecutors to reinstate the charge at a later date if the government deems it appropriate.

Ewa Villages defendant will help prosecution

Another person indicted in the Ewa Villages relocation fraud is expected to testify against former city housing official Michael Kahapea.

Benton Post, charged with first-degree theft, has reached a plea agreement with the state and is expected to change his plea after prosecutors give the go-ahead, his attorney, Darwin Ching, said yesterday.

Trial for Post was scheduled to begin later this month. Judge Victoria Marks set his change of plea for Aug. 31.

Post -- formerly with Aloha State Tours, a transportation company -- is accused of submitting a false billing to the city for the company's moving expenses, said Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee.

Prosecutors believe Kahapea was the mastermind behind a scam in which he hired friends and relatives to set up bogus companies to bill the city for moves that were not done or done at inflated costs.

In other news...

Donations are still being accepted by the Pacific Palisades family that lost its home in a fire Sunday. To donate items or help the family, contact Jeff Tom at 832-1597.

Tapa


Corrections

Bullet Because of a production error on the press, some copies of yesterday's early edition had an incorrect word in the sub-headline of a Page 1 story on Francis Ako. The Star-Bulletin apologizes for the error.

Bullet Last year, 180 registered nurses at Straub Hospital & Clinic won representation by the Hawaii Nurses Association. A Hawaii Inc. article on Wednesday had an incorrect figure.

Bullet The KGMB newscaster referred to in Dave Donnelly's Wednesday column was Russell Shimooka. Another name was given in error.






Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Hamakua man, 48, dead after pickup overturns

HAMAKUA, Hawaii -- A 48-year-old Hamakua man was killed last night when his car struck a bridge abutment and overturned, police said.

Edwin Reucia of Kukuihaele was driving toward Hilo on Hawaii Belt Road about 6:45 p.m. when his pickup truck crossed the center line on the Neinei Bridge and struck an abutment, said Lt. Chad Fukui of the Hawaii Police Department.

Reucia was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:55 p.m.

His death is the third on Big Island roads in the last three days and the 19th in 1999, compared with 25 traffic fatalities at this time last year.

Parolee indicted in rape attempt, kidnapping

A convicted sex offender was indicted yesterday in connection with an attempted rape while he was on parole last month.

Frank O. Loher, 40, drove a woman to Mapunapuna on July 29 and attacked her, police said.

Loher was charged with first-degree attempted sexual assault and kidnapping, police said. His bail is set at $100,000.

Man kills ex-girlfriend's new beau, police say

Police arrested a 28-year-old man yesterday in the shooting death of his former girlfriend's new boyfriend. The shooting at 87-404 Hakimo Road in Nanakuli was reported at 1:12 a.m.

Police said the suspect went to the woman's residence to talk but ended up firing two shots at the boyfriend, who was asleep. The suspect then fled.

When the woman turned on the lights, she found her boyfriend with gunshot wounds to the head. He was taken to Queen's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:50 a.m.

Police arrested the suspect in Mililani. He was booked for second-degree murder. A man, 18, and woman, 20, were arrested with the suspect and were booked for hindering prosecution.

Felon on parole alleged to have shot at woman

Multiple felony charges, including attempted murder, are pending against a man arrested yesterday in Kapolei for allegedly shooting at a woman on Kunia Road.

The man, 30, and woman, 35, are acquainted, police said.

The two were driving separate vehicles on Kunia Road between Schofield Barracks and Village Park. The man pulled his pickup truck alongside the woman's car and ordered her to pull over, police said.

When she refused, the man allegedly drove ahead of her and fired one or two shots back at the car before fleeing. The woman, who was not injured, called 911 from her cellular phone and reported his license number to police.

The man was booked for firearm offenses and first-degree terroristic threatening in addition to attempted murder. According to detectives, he is a felon on parole.

City Bank robbery is state's 26th of the year

A City Bank McCully branch teller was robbed yesterday by a gunman the FBI says is a suspect in two armed bank robberies in the Kapiolani area this month.

The Caucasian suspect, who was wearing a green baseball cap and sunglasses yesterday, fled from the bank at 2002 S. King St. with an undisclosed amount of cash.

The robbery was reported at 2:20 p.m.

Kapiolani branches of City Bank and First Hawaiian Bank were robbed by the same man on Aug. 10 and 13, respectively, according to the FBI.

Yesterday's holdup was the fourth this month and 26th of the year in Hawaii.

FBI nabs bank suspect, 22, in South Carolina

FBI agents in South Carolina yesterday arrested a 22-year-old man at his Spartanburg residence on a warrant charging him with the November 1998 robbery of the Aina Haina branch of American Savings Bank.

Darrell Lee Sams will be afforded an initial appearance before a federal magistrate in South Carolina before being returned to Hawaii for prosecution.

Child support charge awaits isle woman, 38

FBI agents arrested a Hawaii resident in Las Vegas for failure to pay child support.

Harriet Aulani Kaimimoku-Wong, 38, was arrested and charged yesterday and will be sent back to Hawaii for prosecution.

In other news ...

Bullet An 11-year-old boy was arrested yesterday for allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old boy with a pipe at Kam IV Housing.

Bullet Police are searching for an armed man who robbed the Tesoro Gas Express at 1950 Kalihi St. on Wednesday night.

Bullet Five Oahu men were arrested Wednesday night for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover officer in the Aala Park area.

Bullet The 53-year-old man who died in Tuesday's car crash in Kahaluu has been identified as Robert W. Adam of Kaneohe.

Bullet Big Island police have cited 18 retailers in Kona and Hilo for selling tobacco products to minors in a sting conducted over two weekends.






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