CRIME ON THE INCREASE IN TONGA

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NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (March 13, 1999 - Radio Australia)---The daughter-in-law of Tonga's King Taufa‘ahau Tupou IV says crime is on the increase in the Kingdom, with incidents of theft skyrocketing.

The latest statistics on crime are worrying, Princess Nanasipau‘u Tuku‘aho said.

The Princess made the comments during the launch of a series of booklets in the Tongan language explaining women's legal rights in Tonga.

She said alcohol is a significant contributing factor in crime.

"Some authorities are not concerned about Tonga's alcohol consumption. They simply state that drinking alcohol is an island thing, and at least Tonga's drinking problem is not as bad as some of our island neighbors," she said.

"Personally I am concerned. I am concerned about the women and children who are battered and neglected because of alcohol-consuming relatives. I am concerned about the deaths on the roads and the rapes of innocent women and children."

The Princess criticized the government's do-nothing attitude toward alcohol.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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