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StarBulletin.com

New charges brought in gangland violence


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POSTED: Friday, April 10, 2009

Before 32-year-old Antonius Toloai was stabbed in the gut five times and once on the chin, a cry rang out: "KPT, SOS, this is for Soldier!"""

Soldier is the street name of Joseph Peneueta, the man shot numerous times and killed March 28 on North Pauahi Street in Chinatown by two men armed with a shotgun and an assault-type rifle, according to a police affidavit filed in court.

The man who allegedly stabbed Toloai on April 3, Hine Laloulu, was charged yesterday with attempted second-degree murder. The 22-year-old turned himself in Tuesday at the Kalihi police station.

Laloulu, who had been mourning Peneueta's death at a makeshift memorial on the corner of River and Pauahi streets, told the Star-Bulletin three days before the stabbing: "He was like an older brother to us."

Laloulu said that while he and his friends were growing up at Kuhio Park Terrace, a public housing complex in Kalihi abbreviated as KPT, Peneueta helped them stay out of trouble.

Toloai's friend, Natalie Masaniai, who was drinking with him the day of the stabbing, told police that she heard one man in the group that accompanied Laloulu yell out, "KPT, SOS, this is for Soldier!"

Police said SOS stands for Sons of Samoa.

Toloai said he and his friends saw a group of men approaching them from the direction of Pauahi Street that day. He recognized one man in the group known as Tiny and tried to greet him, but before he could, the men allegedly began to punch and kick him and he fled to North Beretania Street, the police affidavit said. An unknown number of men allegedly caught and beat Masaniai in front of J & I Mini Store on River Street.

It was in front of that store that Toloai was knocked to his knees and Tiny allegedly delivered what Toloai thought were punches to his stomach.

He soon realized they were thrusts using a knife with a 3 1/2 -inch stainless steel blade, police said.

Toloai was in serious condition and taken by private car to the Queen's Medical Center.

Police have said the Chinatown violence is related to rival gangs vying for turf and a share of the drug-trafficking business, and that one of the gangs originates in San Francisco.

Iosefa Pasene and Zorro Ramon Rye, both of San Francisco, were charged in the murder of Peneueta. Toloai is a friend of Rye, according to Rye's attorney, and Toloai had been arrested with Pasene the day before Peneueta's killing.

The Chinatown violence prompted a public outcry for a stronger police presence in Chinatown, especially from businesses in the area.

Police said they have responded and increased security in Chinatown, adding more patrol and undercover officers.