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Newswatch
Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Friday, March 4, 2005





Ah Fook's hopes to rebuild market

WAILUKU » Ah Fook's Super Market hopes to rebuild its business in the Kahului Shopping Center after a fire destroyed it and two other stores on Sunday.

The landmark business, founded by a Chinese immigrant, was celebrating its 50th anniversary at the center this year.

General manager Raymond Hew said the supermarket is in discussions with the county and with landlord A&B Properties Inc. about how timely and feasible it will be to rebuild.

"We have the full cooperation from the county and A&B, and we're going to work toward that goal," Hew said yesterday.

He said some of the 55 employees worked yesterday cleaning and picking up supplies and equipment for the temporary second-floor office at 33 Lono Ave. in Kahului.

Hew said the telephone numbers at the former store have been redirected to the temporary office.

Ah Fook's, which occupied about 15,000 square feet at the shopping center, was a full-service supermarket supplied by more than 100 vendors.

Jellyfish expected at southern beaches

Box jellyfish are expected on south-shore beaches this weekend.

The Honolulu Ocean Safety Division is issuing a box jellyfish advisory for tomorrow and Sunday. The influx is expected to peak tomorrow and end by Monday. Lifeguards will check beaches and post warning signs as needed.

Areas commonly affected include Waikiki Beach, Ala Moana Beach and Hanauma Bay. Jellyfish have also been known to affect Pokai Bay, Makaha Surfing Beach, Waimea Bay and other north- and west-shore beaches.

Girl who fell 4 stories is now out of hospital

A 2-year-old girl who fell from a four-story Nuuanu building was released from the hospital last week.

Ashli Alcala-Romero, who suffered internal injuries, was discharged from the Queen's Medical Center last Friday evening, according to a news release by the family's lawyer, William Copulos.

Her aunt, who was baby-sitting the girl the night of Feb. 20, told police the child had been running along the fourth-floor corridor when she tried to bring her inside. The girl kicked one of the bars of the railing, which came loose and struck her arm before she fell through, the aunt said.

She also told police one of the bars had been broken at the 66 Kauila St. building for months.

Police said no foul play was suspected.





Police, Fire, Courts

Police/Fire

By Star-Bulletin staff

EAST OAHU

Car crashes into salon, injuring driver and 2 others

A car crashed through the front window of a Kahala hair salon yesterday, injuring two adults and a young boy.

The accident happened at about noon when the driver -- a man in his 50s apparently suffering from a medical condition -- lost control of his Toyota Corolla, hitting the front plate glass window at Images Hair Design across from Kahala Mall.

A woman in her early 60s and a young boy, between 2 and 4 years old, were in front of the window and suffered minor injuries in the crash, Fire Department spokesman Kenison Tejada and emergency medical services officials said.

The driver was taken to the Queen's Medical Center, as were the woman and boy. Officials did not release their conditions last night.

A witness told KITV-4 News that the car's engine "gunned" just before hitting the window. She said the woman who was hit "was thrown like eight feet and landed in a sitting position, but her back took the impact of the whole thing."

The injured child, meanwhile, was pushed under the car after it rammed through the glass, the witness said.

WINDWARD OAHU

Suspect of sex assault in Kailua still at large

Honolulu police are looking for the suspect of a sexual assault in Kailua last month.

The assault happened at about 3:30 a.m. Feb. 10, when the victim was walking in front of 355 Aoloa St. Police said the woman, whose age was not given, was grabbed and pulled into a light-blue BMW.

The suspect allegedly then sexually assaulted the victim before pushing her out of the car and driving away, police said.

The suspect is described as being in his late 20s and weighing about 250 pounds with a muscular build. Police said he has short black hair and is clean-shaven.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call police Detective Paul Lucas at 529-3218. Anonymous calls can be made to CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

Maui man charged in attack on police

WAILUKU » Two Maui police officers were assaulted while trying to arrest a man who had violated a court order to keep away from his mother's Lahaina home, police said.

Nolan Fraser, 19, was charged with several crimes, including two counts of first- degree assault upon a police officer, three counts of violating an order for protection, abuse and resisting arrest.

In Wailuku District Court on Monday, the charges stemming from the Saturday morning incident were dismissed without prejudice -- meaning they can be refiled -- pending further investigation. But Fraser was being held Wednesday in lieu of $2,000 bail on two counts of contempt of court in a separate incident, authorities said.

Police Capt. Charles Hirata said Fraser kicked a police officer, then used his arm to strike another officer in the chest. Hirata said the police officers had to wrestle Fraser to the ground to arrest him at his mother's home on Kenui Circle.

He said the injuries were minor and that the police officers declined medical attention.


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Ex-electric employee admits embezzlement

A former treasurer for Waiakea's Booster Club has admitted stealing more than $150,000 from the fund-raising organization and her employer, Hawaii Electric Light Co. Inc.

Malva Ideue, 53, of Hilo pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to bank fraud, which is punishable by up to 30 years' imprisonment. She could also face fines of up to $250,000 and two times the actual loss to the victims when sentenced Dec. 12.

Ideue, a corporate account administrator with access to HELCO's checks, said she did not have authority to sign the company's checks, so she had her supervisor sign them. She would then alter the payee, making it out to the WHS Athletic Booster Club. As treasurer of the club, Ideue said she would withdraw money from its account for her personal use.

Court documents indicate she stole $47,000 from the booster club beginning sometime in the 2000-2001 school year and up to July 2003. From July 2003 to July 2004, she embezzled $105,306 from HELCO by forging or altering 12 company checks ranging from $5,288 to $9,950 that she deposited into the booster club account.

The bank fraud charge stems from a $9,950 check dated Feb. 4, 2004, that she had forged and altered to make payable to the booster club.

Ideue has agreed to pay full restitution. She had worked for the company for 21 years but was let go after the theft was discovered.

Man pleads guilty in child porn case

A Honolulu man faces a possible 10-year maximum prison sentence after pleading guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to possessing child pornography.

"I had pictures of naked children on my computer," James C. Richardson told U.S. Magistrate Kevin Chang.

Richardson, 62 and a longtime Honolulu Advertiser employee, is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 5.

Richardson's case stemmed from two investigations conducted in Texas and New Jersey by the FBI and U.S. Customs into Web sites that offer access to child pornography, said assistant U.S. Attorney Larry Tong.

Richardson's name surfaced in both investigations on lists identifying people who used their credit cards to pay for monthly subscriptions to the Web sites.

According to their investigation, Richardson purchased access to members-only Web sites containing child pornography between 2001 and 2003, Tong said.

Investigators here obtained a warrant to search Richardson's home last April. Recovered in the search were a computer and an electronic storage device that contained more than 600 images of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct, Tong said.



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