By Star-Bulletin Staff

Tuesday, December 21, 1999

Millennium Moments

Millennium special

Credit card influx gradual

IN this busy buying season, it's hard to imagine a life without credit cards.

In Hawaii, such a life existed before the 1920s, and it really wasn't until after World War II that the concept of credit became popular.

The first credit cards here were issued by oil companies in the 1920s, says Robert C. Schmitt in "Firsts and Almost Firsts in Hawai'i."

In 1958, the Credit Bureau of Hawaii estimated that 75 percent of Honolulu businesses were issuing their own cards.

October of that year marked the arrival of American Express Co.'s credit cards, serving many local merchants, Schmitt says.

Soon after, in 1959, Bank of Hawaii became the first in the state to launch a local credit card plan.


Oahu grand jury indicts attorney, tax preparers

An Oahu grand jury has indicted a lawyer and two tax preparers for failure to file state general excise tax returns.

Attorney Harrison P. Chung was indicted for failing to file his general excise tax returns for 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Richard James Basuel and Richard James Basuel II of RB Tax Service were indicted for failing to file general excise tax returns for 1995, 1996 and 1997.

Bogus bills turning up with holiday season

The amount of counterfeit money being circulated around Oahu is up slightly during this holiday season, but it's nothing to be alarmed about, said a U.S. Secret Service official.

Al Joaquin of the U.S. Secret Service said more counterfeit cases are reported during the holiday season simply because more money is floating around.

Roughly $1,000 to $1,500 of phony money on Oahu is being seized by the Secret Service every week.

Joaquin said counterfeit money-detecting pens are a good defense for retailers against counterfeit money, but are only 75 percent effective.

Examining the bill for watermarks and irregularities is the best defense, he said.

City, MADD work out plans for a safe eve

Mayor Jeremy Harris and Mothers Against Drunk Driving announced plans this morning to bring in the New Year with a clown and other entertainment instead of champagne.

Instead of alcohol, Starlight MADDness -- from noon to 9:30 p.m. New Year's Eve at Ala Moana Beach park -- will feature entertainment by Chris da Clown, local artists BB Sean, Imua Garza, Tahiti Productions and others, as well as children's activities, food booths and crafts.

Starlight MADDness began in 1998 as a response to increased drunken driving during the holiday season. "Approximately 1,644 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year's last year alone," said Judi Wilson, MADD-Hawaii executive director. Hawaii reported 41 alcohol-related fatalities last year.

Parking will be available at the beach park, with signs directing guests to additional spaces. Admission is free.

For those choosing to celebrate elsewhere, MADD has posted a safe party guide at

Harry Potter captures Hawaii readers, too

A series of books about the adventures of a bespectacled boy wizard has been chosen the favorite of Hawaii public library users in the 20th century.

The Harry Potter book series topped the list of "Hawaii's Choices for the Best Books of the 1900s," a contest sponsored by the Hawaii State Public Library System.

The three books in the series, written by British author J.K. Rowling, are "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

More than 700 children and adults cast votes last month at Hawaii's 50 public libraries.

Rounding out the Top 10 favorites in order of popularity are: "Bunnicula: A Rabbit -- Tale of Mystery" by Deborah and James Howe; "The Westing Game" by Ellen Raskin; "Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul" by Jack Canfield; "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien; Pokemon series by several authors; "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee; "Island of the Blue Dolphins," by Scott O'Dell; "Little House on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the Bible.


Bullet In a poll story yesterday on fireworks, the last two paragraphs should have been attributed to Joe Lew. Another person was incorrectly identified as having made those remarks.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Man stabbed during fight at bus stop

A 20-year-old man is in guarded condition at Queen's Hospital today, the victim of a stabbing last night in Enchanted Lake.

Witnesses saw two men fighting on the ground at a bus stop near 1051 Keolu Drive at about 11 p.m., police said. The man stumbled into The Shack restaurant/bar with stab wounds and was taken to Queen's Hospital.

The suspect ran away and was still at large this morning.

Six arrested for shooting at chaperones

Four men and two boys were arrested in connection with yesterday's shooting at Mokuleia Army Beach.

The males were allegedly inside a truck where gunshots were fired, police said. They allegedly fired at several chaperones for a private party.

The suspects were arrested for attempted murder.

Bank robbery suspect waits for police

A bank robbery suspect was arrested yesterday after telling bank employees she would wait for police at a bus stop.

Kimberly Benn approached a teller at the Haleiwa Bank of Hawaii at 1:48 p.m. and threatened to blow up the bank if she didn't get any money, the FBI said. She disclosed her plan to wait at a bus stop and walked away with an undisclosed amount of money. Responding police officers located her shortly after.

Teen allegedly threatened his father

A 15-year-old North Shore boy was arrested yesterday for allegedly threatening to kill his father with a spear gun.

The two were arguing yesterday at their Ke Nui Road home at 9:30 p.m. when the boy aimed a spear gun his 49-year-old father and threatened to kill him, police said.

The boy was booked for first-degree terroristic threatening.

This photo and artist's rendering are of a man believed to
have robbed four Oahu banks during the last few weeks,
the latest being City Bank's Kapalama branch yesterday.
If you have any information about him, please call the
FBI or CrimeStoppers.

Bank robbery suspect strikes again

A bank robber believed responsible for three earlier holdups struck again yesterday at the Kapalama branch of City Bank.

He entered the establishment at 1535 Dillingham at about 2 p.m. and passed a note demanding money, police said. He received an undisclosed sum and left. He was seen fleeing in a late-model Jeep Cherokee.

Police are looking for a man aged 20-30, light complexioned, about 5 feet 11, average build, about 160-170 pounds. He appeared to be wearing a black wig. He also had on a white baseball cap with light-blue lettering, a white T-shirt and dark pants. He was carrying a black bag.

The same suspect evidently held up banks on Dec. 3, Dec. 8 and Dec. 13.

Anyone with information on this man is asked to call the FBI at 521-1411 or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin