PAGO PAGO MAYOR: OFFICIALS SPONSORED PROSTITUTES

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By B. Chen

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Aug. 22) - Pago Pago
village Mayor Aoe'e Vila Tufele, who also serves as the "watchdog" for
Atu'u village per order of Atu'u village trustee, HC Tufele Li'amatua, told
Samoa News yesterday that he was "shocked" to learn that 13 illegal
Asians, without proper immigration clearances were busted in a Pago Pago house
by Attorney General (AG) Muagututi'a Fiti Sunia and four members of the Criminal
Intelligence and Investigative Bureau (CIIB).

Aoe'e said that he is believes that prominent local community
members are either sponsoring the illegal immigrants or are aware of the ongoing
illegal activities.

He said that most of the former waitresses of the Fishermen
House, formerly the Red Door in Atu'u where the alleged prostitution ring was
uncovered earlier this year, supplied him with names of high ranking local
community members who were directly involved with sponsoring most of the
Oriental girls.

A former employee of the Fishermen House, who first broke the
story concerning the Atu'u sex-for-hire operation, told Samoa News, at the time,
that a local female police officer and a male immigration officer were two of
the local people who were sponsoring girls from the independent state of Samoa
to work as prostitutes at the Atu'u establishment.

Aoe'e confirmed receiving the same information saying that since
then he has been on a quest seeking justice because "something should
definitely be done to the identified female cop and the male immigration officer
because it isn't fair. The girls from Samoa who were used as sex puppets at
their former place of employment would not have been subjected to such shameful
acts if these people had never agreed to sponsor them and bring them in to the
territory."

Aoe'e voiced his concerns about the matter possibly "being
swept under the rug" because it involved ASG personnel, in a prior
interview with Samoa News.

Aoe'e told the Samoa News yesterday that one of the witnesses in
the Fishermen House prostitution case and several former waitresses of the Atu'u
establishment, since returned to Samoa, had told him that the influx of Oriental
girls, seen walking up and down the street between Pago Pago and Atu'u, are
allegedly sponsored by Uiagalelei Iona, prominent landowner of the Futiga
Rubbish Landfill.

Further, Aoe'e said he was skeptical that there will ever be a
fair outcome for the pending Fishermen House prostitution case as Uiagalelei
Iona's son, Marcellus Talaimalo Uiagalelei is the government prosecutor for the
controversial case.

"If Uiagalelei Iona did in fact sponsor some of the
Oriental girls, then it is quite obvious that there is a clear conflict of
interest in having his son prosecute a case that deals with the same type of
business that these Oriental girls are believed to be involved with."

Samoa News spoke with Uiagalelei Iona last night, who stated
that he "has nothing to do with the Asians that were busted earlier this
week at a private residence in Pago and I definitely have nothing to do with the
ongoing investigation into the alleged Fishermen House prostitution case".

He adamantly denied Aoe'e's claims saying, "I have never
once sponsored any Asian girls".

Uiagalelei did confirm that he is one of the co-owners of Orient
Food Express, a restaurant currently operating in Atu'u village. His Orient Food
Express partner is a Taiwanese native.

He also confirmed that nearly three months ago, he appeared
before the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) board concerning a matter on extending
his business operations, due to the outcry from Atu'u village people to
permanently shut down all foreign-operated businesses in Atu'u in response to
the uncovered prostitution ring at the Fishermen House.

The ABC board recommended not to revoke Uiagalelei's business
license and his restaurant continues to operate.

He also confirmed Aoe'e's statement that the village council was
putting a stop to any new businesses interested in setting up shop in Pago Pago.

According to Uiagalelei, he tried to open another restaurant in
Pago Pago village but when the matter was brought before the village council,
Uiagalelei says his request was denied.

Aoe'e explained that Pago Pago village had now formed somewhat
of a "special community watch club" headed by HC Fanene so when the
AG's raid was reported in the newspaper on Wednesday, he immediately contacted
the watch group expressing his concerns and that same Wednesday afternoon he,
with HC Fanene and HC Gi Malala, proceeded to another residence in Pago Pago
where they speculate illegal activities, such as prostitution and harboring of
illegal immigrants, are being operated.

Aoe'e said that villagers, residing in the area, described the
residence as well kept and maintained, with plenty of rooms, and used by
visiting Asian fishermen.

Aoe'e said he discovered that although the residence looks
normal from the outside, after the sun sets the house becomes a restaurant, a
bar, and somewhat of a small motel with rooms used for prostitution activities.

Aoe'e said that upon arriving at the residence, formerly the old
Korean Church located near Pago Pago Park across from the Aeto Taxi stand, up on
a hill, they discovered the house was locked from the inside and the people in
the house, alleged to be illegal Orientals, refused to open the door.

The Mayor explained that the purpose of their visit to this
particular place of residence was to inquire about who had authorized the permit
for use of the home since "the Pago Pago village council has not approved
this particular location to be used as a place for business activities".

"Such establishments like Evie's Cantina and Rachel's
Seafood Restaurant have been in good standing with village guidelines but we,
the village council, will definitely interfere with any newly proposed nightclub
businesses in our village" Aoe'e was quick to point out.

Meanwhile, Aoe'e continues to follow orders from the Atu'u land
trustee to perform his duties as a "watchdog" for the eastern district
village by closely monitoring all the nightclubs in an attempt to control the
number of underage drinkers, suspected prostitution activities, and disturbance
of the public peace.

Aoe'e said that he would continue to make unannounced visits to
the suspected residence in Pago Pago in an effort to clean his village of
illegal activities and dirty business practices.

August 27, 2003

Samoa News: www.samoanews.com 

 

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