Suspect denies planning gambling-related attack
The head of security at several illegal game rooms in Honolulu testified on Wednesday that he had no knowledge of two assaults on rival security groups during the summer of 2003.
Robert Kaialau, 38, took the stand in U.S. District Court and denied that he organized or was present at beatings on rival security at a Young Street game room on July 30 and at a Kapiolani Boulevard game room on Aug. 3. Two men who were working security at the Kapiolani game room were beaten with aluminum bats.
Kaialau is one of 11 individuals charged in a Feb. 28 indictment with four counts of violent crime in aid of a racketeering activity. His 10 co-defendants have since pleaded guilty, and at least eight testified against him earlier this month.
One after the other testified that Kaialau summoned them together on two occasions to strong-arm the current security at the Kapiolani Boulevard and Young Street locations and take over.
Kaialau scoffed at representations by his co-defendants who testified that he organized and participated in the beatings. One of the men hired as security by Kaialau testified that he called himself the "Godfather" and used intimidation and force to demonstrate to game room owners that he was one to reckon with. In one of the beatings, Kaialau provided blue HPD shirts and ski masks for them to wear.
Kaialau contends he had no involvement in illegal gambling until he was asked by former Honolulu police officer David Brown, whom he met in 2001, to go undercover and assist law enforcement in infiltrating game rooms to obtain information about the operations.
Kaialau said he was working as a security guard at nightclubs around town when he was recruited by one of the owners of the illegal gambling businesses, Kai Ming Wang, to provide security at several game rooms in 2003.
Kaialau, who was authorized to hire and fire his security team, acknowledged that there was talk that he was the man to go to if someone wanted to open up an illegal game room. But he said he did nothing to dispel the rumors, because he was assisting law enforcement.
During questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Brady, Kaialau said he was paid $80 a shift working security at both the Kapiolani and Young Street game rooms, the same pay as those whom he hired. He said he spent the money after Brown told him he could keep it.
Kaialau said he was wired on at least five occasions, including during a meeting with Waianae fighter Rodney Joseph, who was also working for Wang.
Brown, who retired from the Police Department in March 2006, said he was not assigned to infiltrate gambling operations in Honolulu in 2003, nor did he use Kaialau as an undercover informant in any capacity. His assignment while in the unit from 2001 to 2004 dealt with narcotics, organized crime and unions, he said.
As a member of the Criminal Intelligence Unit, however, Brown was in a group of officers who responded to an incident at the Kapiolani Boulevard game room on June 3, 2003. Kaialau and his men had gone to the game room to announce they were taking over, witnesses had testified.
Joseph and two other men are awaiting trial in state Circuit Court for the deaths of two men at the Pali Golf Course in January 2006. Police said the murders stemmed from the rivalry between warring security factions at illegal game rooms.