Police ramp up security in Chinatown


POSTED: Sunday, April 05, 2009

The shooting death of Joseph Peneueta and the stabbing of a 32-year-old man Friday in the same area of Chinatown appear to be connected.

;[Preview]    Chinatown Residents Want More Safety Reassurance

There has been violence on the streets of downtown and members of a citizens patrol and merchants association were rallying the community asking for changes.



Police confirmed that the victim in Friday's stabbing is Antonius Toloai, 32.

Toloai and Iosefa Meafua Pasene, one of two men accused of killing Peneueta, were both arrested on drug charges in Aala Park, the day before Peneueta was shot to death on March 28, just three hours after Pasene was released on bail.

The other suspect indicted in Peneueta's death, Zorro Ramon Rye, is a friend of Toloai, according to Rye's attorney, Myles Breiner.

Breiner said his client believes the attack on his friend was in retaliation for Peneueta's shooting.

An Oahu grand jury indicted Pasene, 21, and Rye, 24, both of San Francisco, charging the men with second-degree murder.

But Breiner also said the media, police and prosecutors have incorrectly played up the gang element in his client's case.

“;This is something personal that went on,”; he said.

Breiner said Rye doesn't know Peneueta and has an alibi. “;My guy has no contact with (Peneueta),”; he said. “;No history.”;

Peneueta was fatally shot on the corner of Pauahi and River streets, the same location where Toloai was stabbed.

A large group of men approached Toloai and several friends at a bus stop on River Street between Beretania and Pauahi streets at about 1:40 p.m. Friday, police said.

The men started punching and kicking Toloai and a woman. A third friend fled unharmed.

During the assault, one man stabbed Toloai numerous times in the stomach. He was treated at the hospital, while the woman was taken to the hospital in serious condition. Police opened a second-degree attempted murder case and were still looking for suspects.

Last night police maintained a visible presence at River and Pauahi streets. Police said they did not increase the number of officers on the streets, but did assign the officers on duty to patrol the location.

A merchants association demanded yesterday that police double patrols in Chinatown and explain how they plan to stop the violence.

“;I really think that the crime is the biggest thing on everybody's mind,”; said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of the Chinatown Business and Community Association, which has about 30 members.

The group also wants Mayor Mufi Hannemann and Police Chief Boisse Correa to meet them at Kekaulike Mall at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Shubert-Kwock said she wants Correa to explain “;what plan of action he has to combat this daily thing that is really becoming a nightmare for people.”;

Hannemann “;needs to walk the streets and know what the people are putting up with,”; Shubert-Kwock said. “;It's critical at this point to have the two top people come talk to the public.”;

The mayor's spokesman could not be reached for comment yesterday, and a police spokesman said he could not comment.

Shubert-Kwock said drug dealing and crime has been increasing in the area in the last six months.

She said the drug dealing on River Street is brazen and sometimes senior citizens are asked if they want to buy drugs.

Summer Chau, who owns Summer Frappe on Pauahi Street, closes her shop early because the dealing she sees at night in front of her store frightens her.

“;Too much danger,”; she said. “;All the owners only work half day. More police is good.”;