Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Friday, April 6, 2001

Hearing on Felix home chapel delayed to May 31

A hearing on the future of City Councilman John Henry Felix's wedding operation from his house in Aina Haina has been postponed yet again -- this time until May 31 -- because of no quorum on the city Zoning Board of Appeals.

The issue had been scheduled to take place at a hearing yesterday, but only two members could have voted on the matter, according to Rick Tsujimura, the board's chairman.

A vacancy on the board has left it with four members. Tsujimura said he is barred from voting on the issue because his wife represents another party in a separate litigation involving Felix. Meanwhile, member Carl Takamura was out of town and unable to attend. That left only two members on the five-member board eligible.

Felix's request to have the Hawaii Supreme Court hear the case was declined late last year.

Weddings are continuing at the home despite the Planning and Permit Department's insistence that Felix be fined for the continued operation. Felix contends a wedding facility is an allowable home occupation.

Big Isle public works deputy director resigns

HILO >> Jiro Sumada, deputy director of the Hawaii County Department of Public Works for the past six years, has resigned to join W.H. Shipman Ltd., the company announced.

A civil-engineering graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Sumada will become development manager for Shipman projects on April 25.

Shipman owns much of the land surrounding Keaau, five miles south of Hilo. Sumada will direct shopping and residential projects there.

Foundation to use federal grant for education on marine life

Tour boat operators will be taught how to keep their human ocean adventure from becoming harassment of marine mammals in one of three projects to receive grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Kula Nai'a Foundation will implement its Marine Mammal Education Project on the Big Island, where there is a growing number of "swim with dolphins" tours.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is concerned that the bays that provide critical resting habitat for Hawaiian spinner dolphins are being compromised by the interactive tours, according to a release announcing the $50,000 grant.

Also announced were grants of $90,000 to a University of Hawaii Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research project to identify marine debris, which threatens wildlife and coral reefs in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, and $70,000 for a National Geographic Television proposal to identify the prime foraging habitat for Hawaiian monk seals.

In addition to its Captain's Training Program, Kula Nai'a will organize community volunteers in marine wildlife protection and will develop a naturalist's training course. Preparation of the course, to be integrated into the University of Hawaii curriculum, involves participation by the university, National Marine Fisheries Service and commercial boat operators organizations.


Alleged forced-laborer in Samoa is indicted

A federal grand jury has indicted a Korean national with holding Vietnamese workers prisoner and forcing them to work under inhumane conditions in American Samoa.

If convicted, Kil Soo Lee faces up to 20 years' imprisonment for forced labor and 10 years' imprisonment for involuntary servitude.

Lee is president of Daewoosa Samoa Ltd., a clothing manufacturing plant that produced "Made in USA" garments for large retailers. He is being detained without bail pending further court proceedings.

The plant was closed in January after workers filed a civil suit contending Lee was withholding their pay and complained of working conditions. Some of the 250 workers have made their way to Hawaii or to the mainland to seek other employment. Others have returned to Vietnam.

Mother sues police, city over sex offender

The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was lured by convicted sex offender Gilbert Martines to his McCully apartment two years ago and asked to participate in oral sex has filed suit against the Honolulu Police Department and city.

The complaint, filed yesterday in Circuit Court, alleges the department was negligent in failing to complete an investigation into a complaint made by another boy in 1992 who contended Martines sexually assaulted him in 1989.

Martines was never arrested in that case, allowing him to remain free to prey on other boys, the complaint said.

Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said the department has not seen the complaint and cannot comment on pending litigation.

Also, because of the suit, the department cannot comment on its investigation into why the 1989 case was never brought before prosecutors.

Killer's insanity plea disputed by doctor

Accused murderer Michael Lawrence was not so substantially impaired that he could not appreciate what he was doing was wrong when he struck, stabbed and dis-membered a vacuum cleaner salesman, said a psychologist testifying for the state.

The statements made by Dr. Harold Hall yesterday contradict earlier testimony by two court-appointed doctors who said that because Lawrence suffered from a severe psychotic disorder, he did not know what he was doing was wrong or could not conform his conduct according to law -- the legal definition of insanity.

Lawrence is accused of killing salesman Melchor Tabag on March 27, 1999, at his Waialua home, dismembering the body and disposing of the parts at a North Shore refuse dump.

Drs. Dennis Donovan and Robert Collis had testified Lawrence told them the reason he killed Tabag was because voices told him his mission was to kill people and chop them up.

Hall disputes whether Lawrence heard voices or had auditory hallucinations. He said Lawrence only claimed to hear voices after the murder when he was hospitalized at the Hawaii State Hospital.


>> Central Pacific Bank's chief executive officer, Joichi Saito, was affiliated with the wrong bank in a photo caption in "TheBuzz" column yesterday.

>> Hawaiian Airlines' revenues for 2000 were $607.2 million, up 24.2 percent from $488.9 million in 1999. A Hawaii Inc. story Saturday included incorrect figures.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Publisher and Editor in Chief John Flanagan at 529-4748.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Publisher and Editor in Chief John Flanagan at 529-4748 or email him at

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Cops capture suspect with canoe club's help

A canoe club helped capture one of two suspects in a robbery yesterday in Punaluu.

About 3:30 p.m. yesterday two men forced their way into a home located at 53-709 Kamehameha Hwy, police said. The men bound the hands and feet of a 62-year-old man inside. He was found on the living room floor by his 60-year-old wife when she got home. Police said the men tied her up, too, and put her in the closet.

The men then ransacked the house, stole computer equipment and two vehicles belonging to the couple.

At 6:50 p.m. one of the stolen vehicles was involved in a traffic accident at the intersection of Kamehameha and Kahekili highways. The driver fled into the ocean near Kahaluu Park. Police enlisted the aid of members of a canoe club at the park who captured the suspect.

The 23-year-old man was arrested for robbery and two counts of kidnapping.

The couple were taken to Kahuku hospital where they were treated and released for minor injuries.

Police are looking for the second suspect, described as being in his early-20s, 5 feet 10 inches tall with a slim build.

Head-on collision kills one, injures another

One man is dead and another was in critical condition following a head-on collision this morning in Waialua. The 5:29 a.m. traffic accident occurred in Wilikina Drive between Kaukonahua Road and Kamananui Road. The accident shut down both lanes of Wilikina Drive as firefighters worked to free the victims from their vehicles and as police investigated the accident.

Fire caused by cigarette forces 20 residents to flee

WAILUKU >> Some 20 residents of Hale Mahaolu Elima in Kahului were evacuated, and one was treated and released from Maui Memorial Medical Center for smoke inhalation after a fire yesterday morning in the two-story complex.

Assistant Fire Chief Alan Cordeiro said an automatic sprinkler system put out the fire, caused by a burning cigarette.

Seized burglary plans lead to man's arrest

Police traced two burglaries to plans found on April 1.

A man arrested that day for a firearms offense was found with a drawing for burglary plans, police said.

The following day, a business on King Street between Kalakaua Avenue and McCully Street was burglarized, police said.

Police arrested a second man whose name was on the sketch Tuesday for an unrelated burglary. That man confessed to the crime, police said.

Pearl City man accused of striking dad with a bat

A 74-year-old man said his son struck him on the head with a baseball bat Tuesday, then threatened his two 5-year-old grandsons. Pearl City police arrested a 38-year-old man for assault and two counts of terroristic threatening.

Woman fleeing crime leaves accomplice behind

Honolulu police are looking for a woman, two boys and a girl who shoplifted $750 worth of merchandise from the Liberty House store at Kahala Mall on Wednesday night.

Police say the two boys ran out of the store with the merchandise into a waiting car driven by the woman as the girl distracted the cashier. The boys and the woman fled in the car, leaving behind the girl.

Police arrest man who wielded gun after attack

A man attacked by a group of other men earlier this week was himself arrested when he brandished a gun during the incident. Police reports stated that the victim was in his parked car at 1960 Kapiolani Blvd. Tuesday afternoon when seven men surrounded his car.

According to police, one of the men jumped on the car and kicked the victim's windshield. A security guard came along, and six of the men fled the scene, leaving the man who kicked the car.

Then, police said, the victim pulled out a handgun and threatened the security guard and the suspect. The victim eventually put the gun away.

Police arrested the car owner for two counts of terroristic threatening and on a firearms charge. The suspect who damaged his car was arrested for criminal property damage.

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