Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Royal Guard
scrutinized for hiring
felon as guard

A worker who was recently
shot to death was arrested 81 times

By Nelson Daranciang

The state is investigating Royal Guard Security for hiring a security guard with 81 arrests and 31 convictions.

The employee, 40-year-old Earl Hirakawa, was shot to death last week in a car along Vineyard Boulevard near Aala Street. Police have not arrested anyone in the killing.

Hirakawa worked for Royal Guard from the time he was paroled in February 2001 until the shooting.

He was serving a 10-year prison term for burglary, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and attempted assault. His previous convictions included theft, attempted auto theft and drug promotion.

"It's an obvious violation," said Michael Machado, executive director of the state Board of Private Detectives and Guards.

According to Chapter 463-8 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, employees of guard agencies shall "not have been convicted in any jurisdiction of a crime which reflects unfavorably on the fitness of the employee to engage in the profession, unless the conviction has been annulled or expunged by court order."

Crimes that would preclude employment as a security guard include theft, forgery, misappropriation of funds and burglary, Machado said.The case is being referred to the state Regulated Industries Complaints Office for prosecution.

Machado said Clarence "Rags" Scanlan, Royal Guard Security president and principal guard, submitted an employment card to the board when he hired Hirakawa as required by law.

"He certified that they searched his criminal history and obviously it's not true," Machado said.

Scanlan did not return telephone calls from the Star-Bulletin.

According to the employment card, Royal Guard hired Hirakawa on Feb. 10, 2001, one week before he was released from prison.

Hawaii Administrative Rules were amended last year requiring guard agencies to file a list of their employees with the board quarterly.

Machado said the board does not have the resources to verify the information submitted by employers.

"The onus is on the agency, the company, to comply," he said.

He said the hiring of felons has not been a big problem. The last time a case was referred for prosecution was three years ago and resulted in the company reaching a settlement with the board, Machado said.

Hirakawa was hit in the head with a single blast from a shotgun as he driving Ewa-bound on Vineyard Boulevard about 11:50 p.m. last Wednesday. He died about two hours later.

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