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Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Thursday, September 7, 2000

Experts to scrutinize
HMSA plan

A team of experts from the National Committee for Quality Assurance will begin an in-depth review of Hawaii Medical Service Association's Preferred Provider Plan in December.

HMSA's plan is one of the first four health plans in the nation chosen for review by the national committee, which issued accreditation only to health maintenance organizations until recently.

The committee will evaluate preferred provider plans for consumer protection, member service, access to care, provider credentialing and oversight.

Big Island wins grant to help reduce crime

Hawaii County will receive $150,000 in one of 22 national awards earmarked for communities to develop new approaches to reduce crime and encourage collaboration in the criminal justice system.

The grants are being made by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, which solicited innovative criminal justice strategies.

The bureau received more than 1,300 proposals from state, local and tribal governments and justice agencies.

Hawaii County will create a Community Empowerment Organization, involving more than 50 community groups, businesses and government agencies that have agreed to help build safer and healthier communities.

They will establish an islandwide safety council, develop public awareness of safety issues and provide leadership for community members.

Hawaii hotel group endorses Harris, Herkes

The Hawaii Hotel Association has endorsed Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris in his re-election bid and state Rep. Bob Herkes in his quest to become Big Island mayor.

Murray Towill, association president, praised Harris for making improvements to Kuhio Beach, the Ala Wai promenade, Kapiolani Park bandstand and Kalakaua Avenue.

He also cited the mayor's property tax relief package that encourages renovation of hotels and other commercial buildings.

The statewide trade association represents 180 hotels and 350 allied industry members statewide.

The organization also endorsed 51 other candidates running for the state Senate and House of Representatives and various county council seats.

Grants available for neighborhood projects

There's money available for groups planning beautification, crime prevention or cultural projects in their neighborhoods.

Funds ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 are awarded every year in the Neighborhood Grants Program administered by the Hawaii Community Foundation.

Sept. 29 is the application deadline. Groups need not qualify as tax exempt nonprofit entities, but must have limited financial resources and have a majority of their members living in the area.

Applications are available at state libraries and Queen Liliuokalani Center district offices. For information, call Pohai Ryan at 566-5545.


Some events of interest

Bullet 7-9 p.m., Campbell Estate Building, Laulima Room: The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii hosts a meeting regarding the Honouliuli Preserve Master Plan at 1001 Kamokila Blvd.



Bullet Birney Bervar, a former federal public defender, is in private practice. Bervar was misidentified in an article Aug. 26.

Bullet Former Hawaii banker and developer Sukamto Sia remains in jail pending an appeal of a judge's ruling yesterday to release him on bail. The appeal, by the U.S. Attorney's office, is due to be heard tomorrow morning. A report in Hawaii Inc. yesterday had incorrect information. Also, the first name of Arick Yanagihara and the last name of Danny Kaleikini were misspelled.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Two officers on desk duty pending probe of crash

Two police officers have been taken off patrol and assigned to desk duty while an internal investigation continues into last month's fatal accident on the Waianae Coast, a police department spokeswoman said.

The officers have not been relieved of their police powers and the assignment is routine during officer investigations, she said.

Rayson Labaya, 22, and George Vahinui, 28, were killed in the Aug. 27 accident on Farrington Highway near Kaukama Road.

Police said Vahinui, on a motorcycle, was speeding on Farrington Highway at about 4 a.m. when he struck a Nissan Sentra sedan being driven by Labaya. Police are looking at whether officers were pursuing Labaya at a high rate of speed and whether they were using sirens and flashing lights.

Police are asking for witnesses to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or police at 529-3965.

Police arrest man in Ewa Beach stabbing

Police arrested a 33-year-old man this morning for allegedly stabbing another man in Ewa Beach.

At about 4:40 a.m., a fight broke out between the two men, who are "friends and neighbors," at a Kalapu Street address, police said. The suspect reportedly stabbed a 34-year-old man once with a folding pocket knife. The victim was taken to Queen's Medical Center in serious condition, but was later upgraded to stable.

Police arrested the suspect a couple of hours later.

Arson involved in Moiliili fire, investigators say

Fire investigators have determined that arson was involved in Monday's blaze at a Moiliili apartment. The fire at 713 Hausten St., which caused $40,000 damage, had multiple points of origin, said Fire Capt. Richard Soo. It was set with an ignitable liquid.

It was the third fire this week determined to be intentionally set.

On Monday, a fire at an Oneula Place home caused $80,000 damage. On Sunday, a blaze at the A.Y. Wong building on South King Street caused $65,000 damage.

No arrests have been in the three cases.

Accused robber charged with terroristic threats

Police have charged Shaun C. Rodrigues of Kailua with first-degree terroristic threatening for allegedly pointing a gun at another man during a confrontation in Manoa Valley on July 6.

When residents of a home at 2670 Hillside Ave. confronted Rodrigues about being on their property at about 1:30 p.m., he became involved in a shoving match with the son-in-law of the homeowner, Detective Glenn Muramoto said.

Rodrigues then allegedly pointed a gun at the man, made a verbal threat and fled.

East Honolulu Crime Reduction Unit officers assisted in developing leads that led to Rodrigues, Muramoto said.

Muramoto said three of the four residents who were at the scene identified Rodrigues as the suspect. He was charged Tuesday and released after posting $15,000 bail.

Rodrigues is scheduled to be tried next month for a gunpoint robbery at a Manoa Valley home on Oahu Avenue that occurred two days after the Hillside incident.

He is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and two counts of kidnapping for the July 8 incident. Rodrigues is free on $75,000 bail for that case.


The Courts

Marcos' victims file suit again to recover assets

Attorneys for the victims of 9,539 Filipinos who suffered human-rights violations under the regime of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos are seeking to recover the assets of a Panamanian corporation that allegedly was set up to hide his wealth.

A lawsuit filed yesterday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Honolulu resident Mariano J. Pimental and the plaintiff class said the account for Arelma Inc. has a value in excess of $30 million.

The corporation, established as early as 1983, was formed to "hold, invest and conceal" Marcos' assets even though he died in 1989, the suit alleges.

The human rights victims -- many of whom are elderly, dying or living in abject poverty -- have yet to see a dime of the $150 million compromise settlement approved in April 1999 because Marcos' widow, Imelda, claims she doesn't have that kind of money. Originally, a federal jury in February 1995 awarded a $2 billion judgment to the human-rights victims.

The suit contends that Merrill Lynch Asset Management LP, which controls the account, acted with Marcos' wife and son, who represent Marcos' estate, in "managing, investing and concealing" Arelma's assets.

"We claim that Arelma is an alter ego of the estate of Ferdinand Marcos," said Sheryl Broder, attorney for the plaintiff class.

Counterfeit-watch dealers fined, sentenced

A husband and wife convicted of selling counterfeit Rolex, Tag-Heuer and Chanel watches wholesale to Waikiki merchants were sentenced to 13 months and eight months imprisonment, respectively.

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor on Tuesday also ordered David Giang, 37, and wife Cindy Giang, 33, to pay $15,000 and $10,000 fines, respectively.

This was David Giang's second conviction for trafficking in counterfeit watches. He was convicted of the same charge in 1991.

Federal agents seized more than 3,000 watches with an appraised value of over $170,000 at the Giang's home in June 1996.

The couple's indictment resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Customs Service.

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