Downtown prostitution sting captures 9
Downtown Honolulu undercover police officers dressed as female streetwalkers and snared nine johns in the last week, police said.
Police arrested the men, ranging in age from 22 to 61, in the area of Kukui and Aala streets for solicitation of prostitution.
District 1, which covers downtown Honolulu, uses four undercover units consisting of four women and 12 men several nights a week.
"In this one particular area, you didn't have to be too feminine looking," said Lt. Fabian Loo. "They like 'em big and gnarly."
Honolulu police announced the arrests at a news conference yesterday to inform the public they are working to clean up the streets.
Capt. Frank Fujii said residents have been concerned about prostitution downtown.
"It's part of the ongoing strategy to solve the problem," he said. "We are working on it."
Police want to publicize the message: People who perpetrate crimes should stay out of that area.
The men charged this week are Jino Fonseca, 36; Keith A. Long, 51; Efrey Remigio, 46; Quinn DeSilva, 22; John Albert Richards, 58; Benny Tolentino, 39; David B. Durichek, 61; Ronald Kester, 30; and Yadder Lee, 27.
Police also arrested and charged Anatte Rungstam, 46, with prostitution.
Frank Lavoie, vice chairman of the Downtown Neighborhood Board, said his neighbors have noticed an improvement in the past several months.
"It's actually good (that) police conduct a sting," he said. "They should do it more often so that it doesn't stay like this, so people shouldn't have to put up with this for years."
He hopes the publicity keeps prostitutes and their patrons away from the area.
"People don't like the fact that they are in the center of prostitution," he said.
He said prostitutes stand behind Longs Drug Store and Safeway parking lot on Kukui Street every night. "People are afraid to go outside with their children," Lavoie said.
The community requested that police focus on the problem and conduct stings, he said.
Maj. Randy Macadangdang instituted the special operations to focus on the problem using a variety of strategies, Loo said.
The plainclothes officers are not part of patrol, so no patrol officer is taken away from patrol duties.