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Newswatch

Police, Fire, Courts

Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Wednesday, March 24, 2004


Environmental group backs off endorsement

The environmental group Protect the Planet said it is not supporting any candidate in the race for Honolulu mayor -- less than a week after the campaign of mayoral candidate Mufi Hannemann called the group a supporter.

Protect the Planet President Denny Moore appeared at a news conference called by Hannemann's campaign March 16, when the campaign issued a news release saying that organization was supporting Hannemann.

But on Friday, the organization put the following message on its Web site: "Protect the Planet does not support any one particular candidate in the current mayoral campaign. We look forward to working with a leader who will continue to preserve and protect the environment."

Organization officials could not be reached for comment.





Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

FIRE DAMAGES HALAWA APARTMENT

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DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Firefighters left with their equipment yesterday after putting out a fire at Unit K in Building 18 in the Puuwai Momi state housing complex at 99-129 Kohomua St. in Halawa. A fire official said a boy playing with a lighter in a bedroom caused the fire sometime before 12:22 p.m. yesterday, damaging a second-story apartment.



HONOLULU

Teen sexually assaulted at home in her sleep

A 16-year-old Honolulu girl was sexually assaulted in her home yesterday, according to police.

The victim said she was sleeping when a man in his 20s sexually assaulted her at 4:30 a.m. Police did not say whether the victim knew the alleged assailant. The victim said she woke up and shoved the suspect off and that he tried to flee on foot but was confronted by the victim's uncle.

Police said the family allowed the suspect to leave. The victim was transported to a sex assault trauma center, where a police report was made. Police have not made any arrests.

LEEWARD OAHU

Police look for clues in purse-snatching case


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An unregistered getaway car has made tracking down two purse thieves difficult for Honolulu police.

Detectives said that on Dec. 22, 2003, a robbery suspect knocked a 32-year-old woman down, ripped her purse from her at the Pearl City Shopping Center, jumped into a white Toyota hatchback bearing the license plate number FZU878 and fled the scene. Detectives traced the vehicle to a local charity that had auctioned the car, then tracked it down through five different parties, none of whom have actually registered the car in their name.

The purse snatcher is described as a male between 22 and 27 years old, about five feet 11 inches tall, weighing between 150 and 170 pounds, with a slim build, medium complexion, and possible mustache. He was last seen wearing a dark hat, long sleeve white shirt, and white pants.

The getaway driver is described as also between 22 and 27 years old, having a dark complexion, average build, and dark shoulder-length hair. The vehicle is described as a 1989 Toyota Corolla two-door hatchback which a possible louvered sunscreen on the rear window.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Shannon Kawakami at 529-3873. Anonymous calls may also be made to CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or by dialing *CRIME on a cellular phone.

2 boys arrested after allegedly setting fire

Police arrested two Waianae boys for allegedly setting fire to property at a nearby elementary school yesterday afternoon.

Police said the 12- and 13-year-old suspects entered the school property and used an accelerant to start a fire at 1:45 p.m. Police said though it was a small fire there was some damage done to the school. Both suspects were later identified and arrested for second-degree criminal property damage.

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

Missing swimmer's body found off Big Isle

HILO >> Rescue workers found the body of a Korean national in the ocean Monday afternoon off Waipio Valley.

The Hawaii County Fire Department responded to the call of a missing swimmer at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses reported Min-Koo Kang, 24, was standing in three feet of water when a wave pulled him under, and he did not surface.

A Fire Department rescue boat and helicopter searched the two miles of coastline between Pololu Valley and Paauilo until dark Saturday and Sunday and part of yesterday.

Kang was a student at the University of the Nations in Kona.

Suspect in kidnapping is arrested in Waimea

Big Island police arrested a 69-year-old male who was sought for questioning in the investigation of an alleged kidnapping and sexual assault earlier this month.

On March 8, police said a juvenile male fled from a suspect's vehicle at Waimea Park and reported a sexual assault case to an adult. Police said the victim was not injured.

Police arrested the suspect at 10:40 a.m. yesterday in Waimea. After questioning the suspect, police released him pending further investigation.

Police had asked for the public's help in identifying the suspect, who was described as a Caucasian male in his 60s. He was described as driving a newer model dark blue Mercedes Benz four-door sedan with a tan leather interior.

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