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Newswatch
Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, December 14, 2001


3 Ehime Maru survivors hospitalized for stress

TOKYO >> Three students who survived the collision between the Japanese fishing trawler Ehime Maru and the nuclear submarine USS Greeneville have been hospitalized for stress, their school principal said.

The students have been suffering from insomnia, nausea and appetite loss since October, when the U.S. Navy began recovering bodies of classmates and teachers killed in the accident, said Uwajima Fisheries High School Principal Ietaka Horita.

Horita blamed intense media coverage of the recovery efforts for reviving post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in the students, who were hospitalized in November and whose identities are being withheld.

"The media were hounding them day and night for their reaction," said Horita. "That started causing them to have flashbacks."

Nine men and teenage boys were killed in the Feb. 9 accident. Twenty-six others were rescued.

Divers managed to recover eight bodies in October. The body of Takeshi Mizuguchi, a 17-year-old student, remained missing when the search was called off Nov. 15.

Mazie Hirono garners union support for mayor

Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono's run for Honolulu mayor got a boost yesterday when she won her first endorsement in the race from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142.

The union has about 23,000 members statewide, 5,500 of them on Oahu.

Eusebio "Bo" Lapenia, ILWU president, said the endorsement was approved by both the union's Oahu and statewide political action committees composed of delegates representing union members.

Former City Councilman Mufi Hannemann, who finished second in a bid to unseat Mayor Jeremy Harris in 2000, has garnered endorsements from three unions to date.

Harris has announced he will resign in July to run for governor.

Others who have said they will challenge for the mayor's seat include Councilman Duke Bainum, former Mayor Frank Fasi and former city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.

Lapenia said Hannemann, Bainum and Kaneshiro -- like Hirono -- have been endorsed by the union before, but "you don't turn your back on friends, and for 20 years she's been our friend."


Corrections and clarifications

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Managing Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at fbridgewater@starbulletin.com.






Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

WAIKIKI

Police investigate death as a possible murder

Honolulu police are investigating whether a reported suicide could actually be a murder.

A 41-year-old female was found dead at the Ohana Waikiki Surf East hotel at 12:13 a.m. yesterday.

Patrol officers responding to a possible suicide call found the victim, who appeared to have fallen from her hotel room balcony.

Police said the woman had been staying in an 11th-floor hotel room at the Ohana with a 52-year-old man.

Shortly after midnight, neighboring guests said they awoke to the sound of an argument.

Police said there appeared to have been signs of a struggle in the victim's room, and later discovered that the victim's companion had a number of bite marks on his body. Police arrested the man on suspicion of homicide.

Kahala Central Pacific Bank branch robbed

For the second time in three days, a branch of Central Pacific Bank has been robbed.

This time it was the Kahala branch in the Times Supermarket.

Police said at 3:30 p.m. yesterday, a man handed the teller a paper bag with a handwritten demand note attached. He told the teller he had a weapon.

The man escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash. He is described as being around 35 to 45 years old, having dark hair, a short, dark beard and wearing a green baseball cap, a dark green sweater and light-colored shorts.

On Tuesday, the bank's Aiea branch on Kaonohi Street was robbed by a man armed with a small revolver, police said.

The suspect was seen riding a mountain bike and wearing a white tape on his right cheek. He is described as in his late 20s to early 30s, having short brown or blond hair and a fair complexion.

He is between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds, police said.

HONOLULU

Hostage suspect charged with theft, 3 kidnappings

Police charged Vernon D.K. Johnson Jr. yesterday with burglary, auto theft and three counts of kidnapping.

Honolulu police SWAT members arrested Johnson after he allegedly held a Round Top Drive couple against their will during a standoff with police on Tuesday. He had abandoned a stolen car near the couple's house, police said.

Prior to that incident, police were also looking to question Johnson about the kidnapping of a 16-year-old man in Kaimuki on Sept. 27. Police said the suspect had demanded $600 from the victim's grandparents for the teenager's release, then released the victim unharmed in the Pearl City area without getting any ransom.

Johnson was also wanted on arrest warrants for probation revocation for a previous felony theft conviction and contempt of court.

Johnson's total bail is listed at $170,000.





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