Man charged in death of seal
State officials charged a Waianae man believed to have caused the death of a Hawaiian monk seal that became caught in a net set offshore of Makua Beach on May 27.
John P. Kahalekii, 52, was charged on June 1 with using a lay net longer than 125 feet, failing to visually inspect his net and failing to register it.
An officer with the Department of Land and Natural Resources found the seal about 100 feet from shore entangled in a gill net and floating face down in about 20 feet of water, a DLNR news release said. The seal was cut free and brought to shore.
A necropsy of the seal reported that the seal likely died from drowning.
It was the second monk seal drowning within a year. On Oct. 16, a monk seal drowned after it became caught in a lay gill net near the Makai Pier on Oahu.
A violation of state gill net rules that result in the death of an endangered species is punishable by up 30 days in jail and a $5,000 fine. In the death of a Hawaiian monk seal, an additional $10,000 fine can be levied for each seal killed.
Tax evader gets 2-year sentence
A former Honolulu businessman was ordered to serve two years in federal prison for tax evasion and using a false passport.
Chief U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor chastised Kenneth Chio Heng Iong, whose prior businesses included Sushi Chef and Dunkin' Donuts franchises, saying she was "very disappointed" to be sentencing an individual of his caliber for failing to pay his fair share of taxes.
Gillmor said a term of imprisonment would prove as a "deterrence to others who think it's easy to defraud the government and think they can get away with it."
According to a plea agreement, Iong under-reported the income tax he owed on his 2000 federal tax return. In 1999, he diverted large sums of money to himself from ICH Group Inc., doing business as Sushi Chef, and obtained bank financing to fund loans for equipment that was never purchased. He also under-reported income from two rental properties and admitted to obtaining and using a bogus Costa Rican passport.
Gillmor also ordered Iong to be placed on three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term and to pay back the government $251,940.
Iong must turn himself in to the federal detention center here on July 19.
Drug suspect blames friend
The athletic director of the Academy of the Pacific pleaded not guilty yesterday in Circuit Court to possessing more than a pound of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Brad Kitsu, who also teaches English, physical education and middle school study skills, was arrested May 25 at his Nuuanu Avenue apartment along with a friend, Wayne Morris Roe Jr.
Kitsu's attorney, Randall Oyama, said yesterday that his client didn't have anything to do with the mailing of the package to his Nuuanu home.
Roe told police that he had arranged for the delivery of the package to be sent to Kitsu and didn't inform Kitsu, who became upset after he learned what Roe had done, Oyama said.
Kitsu did accept the package, however, and signed for it, Oyama said. But he didn't open it and gave it to Roe when he arrived at Kitsu's home two weeks ago.
Police converged on Kitsu's apartment shortly after Roe arrived there May 25 and opened the package, triggering a monitoring device placed in the package by police. Roe has been charged with first-degree promotion of detrimental drugs.
Kitsu's trial is scheduled for Aug. 6.
Coming this weekend in your Star-Bulletin:
Students compose music and create their own CDs and multimedia programs in Word of Life Academy's music technology laboratories.
Hawaii's most prominent juried exhibit, "Artists of Hawaii," opens at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. This year, Russell Ferguson, chairman of the department of art at the University of California, Los Angeles, brought a fresh eye to the judging, selecting 77 pieces out of 901 entries.
Business: Unlike many family entrepreneurs, the founders of the Japanese-style okazuya Ebisu Catering Service do have a younger generation willing to carry on the business -- but for that to happen, they must first find a new location, and soon.
Police, Fire, Courts
Man tries to swim to evade officers
Police charged a 23-year-old Maili man who allegedly crashed into two parked cars while driving a stolen car and then jumped into the ocean to escape police.
Police said an officer spotted Ernest Vierra and a woman in a stolen car in Waianae at 11:32 a.m. Tuesday.
While trying to elude officers, Vierra crashed into two parked vehicles and then he and the woman fled on foot, police said.
Police said Vierra jumped into the ocean, but was caught a short time later.
He was charged with auto theft, fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle collision and driving without a license. He was also arrested on a warrant for a probation violation. He was being in lieu of $60,000 bail.
The woman was still at large.
Alleged chain thief caught after crash
Police arrested a man yesterday who they say hitched a ride to Waipahu in possession of a gold chain he allegedly stole from a Mililani jewelry store.
The man crashed his car while fleeing from the jewelry store, police said.
The 37-year-old man, with no local address, stole the chain from Mililani Gold Mart at the Town Center of Mililani about 11:45 a.m., according to police.
Thanh Le, owner of Mililani Gold Mart, said the man stole a 24-inch, 14-karat gold chain worth $1,400.
"He tried it on and he ran off," Le said.
Town Center security guards ran after the suspect, who got into his car and backed into a security golf cart. No one was hurt, but one security guard had to jump out of the way, police said.
The suspect collided with another vehicle at a nearby intersection and flagged down a passing motorist, who gave him a ride to a restaurant in Waipahu, police said. Police arrested the man at 12:45 p.m. in the parking lot of the Waipahu Times Supermarket as he was entering another vehicle.
No injuries were reported in the collision. The man was arrested on suspicion of second-degree robbery.
Boy, 6, hurt fleeing from runaway bus
A 6-year-old boy was injured yesterday after a Roberts Hawaii school bus ran off the road at Bougainville and Haloa drives in Foster Village, police said.
A bus heading back to the baseyard at Sand Island about 11 a.m. swerved to the right, hit a telephone pole and knocked it down, according to Roberts Hawaii.
The Roberts release said witnesses said the boy was injured from a fall while running and was not struck by the bus or the downed telephone pole.
Police said the boy was grazed by the bus, then treated for his injuries and released.
"The driver of a Roberts school bus lost control and went up onto the sidewalk. The boy was trying to get away and got injured," said Sgt. Stan Ishii of the Kalihi Police Station.
Roberts Hawaii mechanics were investigating what caused the bus, which was carrying only the driver and an aide, to hit the curb.
The driver completed an investigation and was not found to be impaired in any way, the company said.
Men held, charged in touch of woman
Police arrested a 33-year-old man who allegedly kidnapped and inappropriately touched a woman who is mentally disabled.
Police said that on May 2, the woman was waiting for a ride on Liholiho Street in Makiki when she was approached by two men she knew.
The men forced her to walk with them to a covered parking garage where one of them inappropriately touched her, police said.
Police arrested the suspect Wednesday at his downtown apartment on suspicion of third-degree sexual assault and kidnapping. He was later released pending investigation.