Police, Fire, Courts

By Star-Bulletin Staff


Firefighters at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island spent most of yesterday felling "snags," or dead trees that could fall and ignite a fire. Fire crews have been mopping up for two days since containing a fire that burned nearly 900 acres of park land since Saturday. The fire was started by a lava flow that continued to move yesterday.

Rescue effort under way for ill Japanese crewman

A C-130 plane was to reach Midway today and pick up a crew member fallen ill aboard the Kaiun Maru, a Japanese research vessel. But rough seas and a failed parachute were delaying the medical evacuation mission.

The Coast Guard plane was to transport the crew member, believed to be suffering from a bleeding ulcer, to Oahu for treatment at Kuakini Medical Center. But the evacuation was off schedule today as the crew tried to make alternate plans.

The U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy launched the joint medical evacuation mission yesterday.

The C-130 left Barbers Point about 4 a.m. with a Navy SEAL team and Air Force medical crew on board, said Monica Ryan, Coast Guard spokeswoman.

The SEAL team was to parachute from the plane and board the vessel, which was about 300 miles north of Midway, to assess the condition of the crew member, Ryan said. The C-130 was to fly to Midway with the Air Force medical crew to meet the vessel.

The request for medical assistance came from the Japanese Coast Guard, Ryan said.

Big Island police seek help finding missing boy

Big Island police are asking the public's help in locating a 16-year-old Honokaa boy who has been missing since April 3.

Police identified the boy as Kayza Kanekoa. He is described as 5 feet 3 inches tall, weighing 125 pounds, with a slim build. Police further described Kanekoa as having close-cut brown hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information on Kanekoa can call CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.

Coast Guard suspends search for missing boater

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for missing boater Mark Brewer yesterday. Members of the Coast Guard conducted a three-day search that covered more than 9,000 nautical miles.

Brewer, 47, a Kauai resident, was en route to Ko Olina from Nawiliwili Harbor on Friday and was scheduled to arrive at 8 p.m.

Brewer's son contacted the Coast Guard Saturday night when he received no confirmation that his father arrived on Oahu.

Brewer's wife has been notified of the search suspension.

Lt. j.g. Mia Dutcher of the Coast Guard said: "More than likely he is not on the surface of the water. We saturated the area. He's nowhere to be found."

Two Coast Guard patrol boats and multiple flight searches have assisted in attempting to locate Brewer. The Coast Guard spent more than $700,000 in its search for Brewer, excluding Navy or Coast Guard auxiliary expenses.

Big Isle man charged with cocaine possession

U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo has followed up on his pledge to commit federal resources to prosecute drug cases on the Big Island.

John James Montoya, 34, of Waiakea Uka was charged yesterday with the federal offense of possession with intent to distribute about 4.4 pounds of cocaine, Kubo, Hawaii County Prosecutor Jay Kimura and Hawaii County Police Chief James Correa announced.

Montoya was intercepted and arrested Tuesday after his return from California, and the cocaine was found during a search of his belongings in Hilo, they said.

If convicted in state court, Montoya could have been eligible for probation. But if convicted of the federal charge, Montoya faces a sentence of between five and 40 years in prison.

Following two days of meetings in Hilo last week with Big Island prosecutors and police, Kubo pledged his support to commit federal resources to prosecute cases arising from drug and firearm investigations.

"From now on, the U.S. attorney's office will be a visible and equal partner in these important Big Island cases, and narcotic trafficking and firearm offenses will be a joint top law enforcement priority," Kubo said.

"This arrest is an example of the excellent cooperation between local and federal law enforcement," Kimura said.

Correa said if the seized cocaine had made it to street-level dealers, it would have been worth $85,000 to $100,000.

Tax preparer sentenced for preparing false returns

A Circuit Court judge sentenced a 56-year-old Aiea woman yesterday to five years' probation and a $30,000 fine for aiding and abetting taxpayers in preparing numerous fraudulent tax returns.

In a plea agreement with the state, tax preparer Vivian Soong pleaded guilty on Feb. 14 to six felony counts of second-degree theft.

Soong worked as an independent contractor with RB Tax Services. The company's owner, Richard Basuel, and other tax preparers Richard Basuel II, Dina Caleda and Rosalinda DeGuzman pleaded guilty to similar charges.

Judge Michael Town also ordered Soong to pay all delinquent taxes, to serve 150 hours of community service and to write a letter of apology to the director of the Department of Taxation. Soong could have been sentenced to up to three years in jail and a $100,000 fine for each count.

4 U.S. servicemen's remains returning home

Human remains believed to be those of four American servicemen missing from the Vietnam War will return to the United States next week, military officials said.

Three sets of remains are from Vietnam, and one from Laos. They will arrive Wednesday at Hickam Air Force Base to an all-service honor guard ceremony.

Following the repatriation ceremony, the remains will be taken to the Army's Central Identification Laboratory, where scientists will attempt to identify them.

The recovery of the remains is a part of an effort to provide the fullest possible accounting for American servicemen still missing or unaccounted for, the military's Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, officials said.

There are still 1,914 Americans unaccounted for in the region, including 1,444 in Vietnam, 404 in Laos, 58 in Cambodia and eight in China.

Brain Injury Symposium scheduled for June 28-29

New medical techniques and strategies in acute care and rehabilitation of brain injury victims will be discussed at the second annual Brain Injury Symposium June 28-29 at the Hawai'i Convention Center.

Guest speakers with expertise in the field will review trends in brain injury research, neurological and behavioral consequences of brain injury and issues involving education, vocational rehabilitation, community reintegration and continuum of care.

The symposium June 28 will be from 7:30 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. On June 29 it will be from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Fees for the two-day event will be $350 for physicians and attorneys through June 14 and $400 after that day. The one-day fee is $200.

For traumatic brain injury survivors, caregivers, nurses, paraprofessionals, adjusters and other allied health providers, the fee is $250 through June 14 and $300 after that. The one-day fee for this group is $150.

For more information or to register, call Jill at lawyer Ian Mattoch's office, 523-2451, or e-mail; or Juliana Woo at the John A. Burns School of Medicine, 956-5087, or e-mail

Alzheimer's group to hold black-tie fund-raiser

"Moonlight and Magic Tango!" is the theme of the annual fund-raiser on June 28 of the Aloha Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

The black-tie event, starting at 6 p.m. in the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Coral Ballroom, will include a silent auction, tango performances, food, wine and dancing until midnight.

The event, in its 13th year, helps raise money to support programs and services for more than 20,000 isle residents with Alzheimer's.

The association provides the Safe Return identification program for potential wanderers.

Reservations for the dinner-dance are $100 per ticket. VIP table reservations of 10 also are available: Gold Table, $1,000; Platinum Table, $2,000; and Diamond Table, $3,000.

For more information and to make reservations, call the Alzheimer's Association, 591-9071.

Waianae Health Center seeks artists for design

The Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center is seeking artists to submit a design and budget to illustrate its capital-raising theme, "Sharing Traditions: Generation to Generation."

The design must incorporate the engraving of at least 1,000 donor names.

Designs and budgets are due June 14, with a selection to be announced July 15. If selected, the art piece will have to be completed by June 15, 2003. Contact Joyce O'Brien at 696-1457 for a copy of the request for conceptual design.

The nonprofit community health center has raised close to $800,000 of the $3,190,000 needed to build a two-story family medical clinic. The "Sharing Traditions" campaign is trying to raise $200,000 by asking people to purchase a $200 engraving of their name or their family's name.

Support group starts for siblings of mentally ill

NAMI Oahu, local affiliate of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, has formed a sibling support group.

The group will include sisters and brothers of people with mental illness.

For more information, call 591-1297.


Corrections and clarifications

>> An 8-year-old girl was allegedly abducted from her Kalihi home early Friday. A story on page A-1 Tuesday incorrectly stated that she was 9 years old.

>> Attorney Myles Breiner purchased Chinese-language videotapes for detainees from the Taiwanese fishing vessel Full Means No. 2. A Monday story on Page A1 erroneously said prison officials rented videos for them.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin strives to make its news report fair and accurate. If you have a question or comment about news coverage, call Managing Editor Frank Bridgewater at 529-4791 or email him at

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff

Honolulu Police Department Crimestoppers

Big Island paraglider, 43, dies after hard landing

A 43-year-old paraglider died yesterday after apparently making a hard landing in a landing zone, Big Island fire officials said.

The man landed on a grass-covered but rocky hillside along Rock Bottom Road, officials said. He complained of pain to the right side of his chest after getting up. He then fell to the ground and was unresponsive.

He was not breathing when rescue personnel arrived, officials said.

Big Isle man arrested after high-speed chase

A 24-year-old Big Islander was charged with 18 traffic offenses yesterday after leading police and national park rangers on a chase in a stolen truck.

Louis Alani III was also charged with two counts of felony assault and one count of attempted felony assault, police said.

The chase, reaching more than 100 miles per hour, began in Puna when the pickup was spotted on Hawaii Belt Road, police said. The chase went through Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kau, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates and into Kona, where the stolen truck reversed twice into a police vehicle.

The pursuit ended near the Kona Paradise area when the truck hit an embankment and rolled onto its side. Police said Alani fled on foot but was arrested later when he was spotted near the highway. He was treated for minor injuries at Kona Community Hospital before being taken to the Kona police cellblock.

Police recover spent tube of military rocket launcher

Police referred a weapons investigation to the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms after recovering the spent tube of a military rocket launcher Tuesday on Waialae Nui ridge.

A woman who lives on Halekoa Drive called police after seeing a man with a rifle about 9 p.m. She described him as wearing camouflage pants, a dark shirt and a ski mask.

The gunman fled before police arrived. Officers recovered a Light Antitank Weapon with the identification scratched off.

Liquor store owner hit by car in failed robbery

A 61-year-old Moiliili liquor store owner received minor injuries Monday night as he was struck by a car in a failed robbery, police said.

But he was able to recover the loot: two 12-packs of beer, valued at $14.99.

Police said the owner of 777 Liquors Grocery & Gift Shop chased after a man who ran out of the store with the beer. The man got into a waiting car driven by another man, and the car struck the owner from behind as the alleged robbers tried to flee.

Police arrested the driver but released him after the store owner declined to pursue criminal charges. The owner complained of pain to his right shoulder but refused medical treatment.

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