Star-Bulletin staff and wire

Arroyo commits to pay 9,500 Marcos victims

MANILA » Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo says she was committed to compensating more than 9,500 human-rights victims under the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos from his Swiss bank accounts.

Arroyo's spokesman, Ignacio Bunye, said Tuesday that Arroyo had committed $200 million of the Marcos funds for that purpose.

In 1995 in U.S. District Court in Hawaii, 9,539 plaintiffs who were tortured or whose family members were executed or disappeared at Marcos' direction were awarded $2 billion.

Interest in the Marcos wealth heightened following a ruling last Friday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that American courts may not overrule a decision by another country's supreme court. The decision effectively excluded the $683 million in Swiss accounts, the largest assets recovered from the Marcoses, from being used by the U.S. District Court judgment.

The Philippine government admitted yesterday that it has spent some Marcos money from Swiss bank deposits that have been transferred to the national treasury.

Cape Flattery ready to float, agent says

The cargo ship Cape Flattery was expected to be free this morning from a reef where it has been stuck since Feb. 2.

"We sincerely hope that tonight will be the night she floats again," ship's agent Jim Lawrence said yesterday evening.

Close to 8,000 metric tons of granular cement has been removed from the ship's load of 27,100 metric tons of cement, Lawrence said.

Salvage workers planned to start removing ballast water that has been holding the Cape Flattery in place as the cement was removed over the past week, Lawrence said.

It will be taken to deeper water by five tugboats and held there for underwater examination by divers. If, as is expected, no significant hull damage is found, the ship will come into Barbers Point Harbor to unload the rest of its cement cargo.

No boat injury found on dead humpback

A necropsy of a baby humpback whale that washed ashore Tuesday at Barbers Point revealed that it had no propeller marks or signs of contact with a boat, a National Marine Fisheries Service spokeswoman said yesterday.

Though scientists were unable to determine the cause of death for the 1-week-old male, they noted "no internal abnormalities and that the injury to a severed right pectoral fin was consistent with shark bite," said Wende Goo.

Blood, tissue and DNA samples were taken from the whale for further analysis, she said.

DEA in Hawaii to get 4 new special agents

Four special agents will be added to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's force in Hawaii, Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona said Wednesday.

"The addition of four new special agents for Hawaii will greatly enhance the effectiveness of our three-pronged drug control strategy that provides a balance of treatment, prevention and law enforcement," Aiona said in a statement.

Last February, Gov. Linda Lingle had met with DEA Deputy Director Michele Leonhart in Washington to discuss the state's need for additional federal assistance in efforts to control the manufacture and sale of drugs in Hawaii.

Town-bound Pali lanes closed for tunnel work

Honolulu-bound lanes on Pali Highway between Kamehameha Highway and Waokanaka Street will be closed from 7 p.m. tomorrow to 7 a.m. Sunday for tunnel cleaning.

Motorists should anticipate delays, allow for extra travel time and use caution while driving through the work areas.

Police, Fire, Courts


By Star-Bulletin staff


Police seek male suspect in alleged assault of girl, 14

Honolulu police are asking for the public's help in finding a man suspected of grabbing a 14-year-old near an Ewa Beach intersection last month, forcing her into his pickup truck and sexually assaulting her before she was able to escape.

The incident happened about 6 p.m. Jan. 6 at Kamailio and Makalea streets.

Police said a man was standing outside his red pickup truck when he grabbed the 14-year-old, who was passing by, and forced her into the back seat of the truck. The girl was sexually assaulted in the truck before she was able to flee, police said.

CrimeStoppers said there were no similar cases reported in the area.

Police described the suspect as in his 40s, with dirty blond hair and a mustache. When the incident happened, he was wearing a green tank top, faded bluejeans and work shoes. Also, the red pickup truck had an extended cab.

Girl reports alleged Kalaeloa sex assault

Police are looking for a 53-year-old man suspected of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl earlier this week.

Police said that between 5 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, the suspect, who is an acquaintance of the victim, picked her up and drove her to Kalaeloa Camp grounds where he sexually assaulted her in his vehicle. The victim reported the incident to a teacher who then called police.


Victim reports robbery of Louis Vuitton bags

A 40-year-old man said someone robbed him of his two Louis Vuitton bags Wednesday night while he was walking along Ala Moana.

The victim said a man in his 30s threatened him with a knife, pushed him to the ground and then took his bags at 11:10 p.m. near the Ala Wai Canal bridge.

Police said the victim suffered two minor scratches to his left forearm and refused medical treatment at the scene.


Big Island police arrest prison escapee


Big Island police arrested a Hawaii Community Correctional Center escapee and his alleged accomplice yesterday at a Mauna Kea State Park cabin.

Winston Hoapili, 31, is being held at the Hilo police cellblock pending an investigation and charges.

Hoapili was awaiting trial for felony theft and drug charges when he escaped Jan. 28 while being taken to a medical appointment. He jumped into a waiting car, which was parked at the Ponahawai Medical Clinic.

Police believe the car's driver was the 20-year-old woman arrested yesterday at the cabin. They allege the woman was Hoapili's accomplice and also participated in a chase on Feb. 1.

Police say the two led South Hilo patrol officers on a high-speed chase after officers responded to a tip that they were in the Keaukaha area. The chase was called off for safety reasons.

Police say the truck the two were in had been reported stolen and was later recovered in the Papaikou area.

The driver of the stolen truck told police the two had kicked him out of the vehicle and sped away.

The arrests took place about 7 a.m. after SWAT teams surrounded the cabin. No weapons were found, but police did recover a stolen Toyota pickup truck.

Coast Guard helps man to Hilo hospital

The Coast Guard transported a 60-year-old crewman aboard a container ship to shore yesterday for medical attention.

The man was experiencing serious medical problems, but the Coast Guard did not have further details on his condition.

The incident started about 3 p.m. Wednesday, when the Swedish-flagged Traviata requested the Coast Guard's assistance.

A Coast Guard surgeon recommended the man be brought to a hospital immediately, so the ship diverted and met the Coast Guard cutter Kiska about three miles off the Big Island about 10 a.m. yesterday.

The Coast Guard then took the man to a Hilo pier, where he was taken to an area hospital by ambulance.

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