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Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, January 22, 2000

Waialae offramp work continues 'til Monday

Eastbound traffic on the H-1 Freeway was slowed yesterday, at times to a snail's pace, after the Waialae Avenue offramp was closed for construction work at 9 a.m.

"It's been that way ever since this morning," a traffic policeman said last night.

Hawaiian Dredging is doing resurfacing and is working 24 hours a day, he said. The Waialae offramp will reopen at 3 p.m. Monday, the officer said.

Jeanie Wyss, manager of the Swiss Inn restaurant in Niu Valley, said several people arrived a half-hour to 45 minutes late, and one couple canceled their reservation. "There were a lot of people who were terribly frustrated."

McElrath recognized for life's fight for rights

The Hawaii Women Lawyers organization will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Ah Quon McElrath for her dedication to advancing the rights of workers and activism on community issues, including health care and criminal justice.

The award, usually given to an attorney, recognizes more than a half-century of work by McElrath, a member of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents and a retired social worker with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

McElrath was involved in advocacy for legislation for updated hospice care, abortion rights for women, repeal of the death penalty and issues affecting the poor.

The association of 250 lawyers also announced awards to Honolulu Star-Bulletin editorial page editor Diane Chang, attorney Susan M. Ichinose and University of Hawaii law professor Casey Jarman.

Jarman will receive the group's President's Award for mentoring women law students and helping create the environmental law program at the university.

Chang was recognized for writing about subjects such as domestic violence, sex discrimination and gender pay equity.

Ichinose, as chairwoman of the Hawaii Women Lawyers legislative committee, has pressed for legislation protecting women's rights.

Anti-abortion protesters
rally near Capitol

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin
The 27th Annual March for Life rally yesterday culminated
in a march around the state Capitol.

By Dennis Oda, Star-Bulletin

Detention extended in women-smuggling case

A federal detention hearing was postponed yesterday for the reported leader of a Honolulu-based operation that allegedly smuggled in women from Japan to work as nude Internet models.

Akira Sekimoto's hearing has been rescheduled for 2:45 p.m. Thursday.

Meanwhile, Takao Ono -- one of five people indicted last week for conspiring to smuggle aliens into the United States -- was released on a $25,000 bond co-signed by his wife. He has also been placed on 24-hour electronic monitoring.

Shihoko Sakamoto and Sean Nakayama entered not guilty pleas last week. A fifth indicted suspect, Naoki Shimada, remains at large, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Omer Poirier.

Forum to fix the IRS at least gets a laugh

A public forum on improving the Internal Revenue Service drew a low turnout today.

Only about two dozen people attended the Pacific Northwest Citizens Advocacy Panel town meeting at Kapiolani Community College.

U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink said she was disappointed so few people were there. "Maybe we have no problems," she said, to laughter from the audience.

Mink said the main complaint her office receives is the inability to communicate with a "warm body" at the IRS. Other complaints include making electronic errors when filing tax returns by computer.



Bullet Norman F. Foster was principal clarinetist during the Denyce Graves concert reviewed in the Today section Jan. 10. Another name was given. We regret the error.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Police are hunting a smooth-talking scam artist or artists who
are preying on elderly women. (Police composite sketches.)

Thief asks women for
cash outside bank

Police and CrimeStoppers have issued another alert for residents to be on the lookout for a local scam artist.

In cases reported thus far, two women in their 80s have lost more than $50,000, according to police.

In December, an 85-year-old woman was approached by a man identifying himself as "Mr. Montgomery," police said.

He told her someone was trying to steal her money and instructed her not to inform the police.

He then sent a taxi for the woman and met her outside her bank. She was instructed to place the money in an envelope and hand it to him.

She gave him money on several occasions, police said.

In a second case, an 83-year-old woman was approached this month by a man who identified himself as "Mr. Jameson," police said.

The man told the woman he was checking on a dishonest bank employee and asked her to withdraw money.

Even after hearing about bank scams, the woman was so convinced "Mr. Jameson" was legitimate that she withdrew the money and gave it to the man, police said.

He then instructed her to check on another dishonest employee at a different branch.

Police noted common elements that people should be aware of in the bank scams:

Bullet A smooth-talking person offering transportation;

Bullet Use of an envelope to transfer money;

Bullet Meeting away from the bank;

Bullet Promises to return the money at a later date;

Bullet Repeating the process at a different branch or bank;

Bullet Instructions that you not tell the police or bank authorities;

Bullet Checking on a bank employee suspected of stealing money.

Police have released composite sketches of the suspect or suspects. They said he preys on elderly women who are widows.

Anyone with information can call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.


Lei-seller abducted, robbed; man arrested

Police arrested a 38-year-old man this morning at his McCully high-rise condominium for allegedly kidnapping a woman who was selling leis.

The woman was selling leis in front of the Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant on South King Street at 8 p.m. when the man allegedly kidnapped her, police said.

He drove around with the woman for more than an hour while smoking marijuana and threatened her, police said. He also demanded money.

After receiving money, he dropped her off on University Avenue.

Police traced the man and later arrested him inside his 25th-floor unit at 2100 Date St., where more drugs were discovered.

He was booked for kidnapping, second-degree robbery, promoting dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.

A 35-year-old man, who also lives at the condominium, was arrested on drug offenses.

Police collar Aiea man in kidnap-beating case

Police arrested a 36-year-old Aiea man yesterday who was wanted for allegedly kidnapping and beating his former girlfriend in December.

The man was apprehended by undercover officers from the Kaneohe police station.

Wrong-way H-1 driver improves in hospital

The wrong-way driver who was critically injured in Tuesday's H-1 Freeway pileup is listed in guarded condition at Queen's Hospital.

Charges related to criminal threatening and reckless driving are pending against Benny Belleza, 56, of Kalihi. Police investigations are on-going.

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