TAIWAN TECHNICAL MISSION RANSACKED IN SOLOMONS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 3) - Just as the Taiwan Technical Mission recovers from the raid to its property in August, a group of men attacked the premises again early yesterday morning.

This time the group left damages and stole properties totaling to some SB$250,000 [US$35,875].

A deeply concerned, leader of the Taiwan Technical Mission Chiang Yi-chan told Solomon Star that something must be done now to stop this kind of criminal activities.

"This is a horrible experience and everybody on the farm is afraid. I urge the police to do something to protect us. We are here to help local farmers in rice production, vegetables and piggery but if these groups continue to raid and vandalize the mission we will not be able to help Solomon Islands people," Yi-chan said. "We are very sorry about these incidents and we hope responsible authorities are doing something about these illegal activities. Somebody must stop this evil and bring those responsible to justice."

According to Yi-chan, a group of about 40 men broke in the mission’s office smashing doors, walls and glass as they made their way into the building.

Inside the office, the men threw down draws from the tables, took computers, photocopy machines, chainsaws, furniture, farm tools, digital cameras and personal belongings. They also sabotaged electrical appliances.

Outside the building, the men broke the window screens of the mission’s five vehicles and damaged parts of the vehicles, stealing car stereos and even tried burning the vehicles.

The 11 Taiwanese officers residing at the farm could do nothing but remained silently inside their accommodation listening to the noise from damages caused by the men.

"We can’t do much because last week they have cut the hand of one of our officers and caused injury to some of us and we don’t want that repeated," Yi-chan said.

He said attempts to contact the police were unsuccessful because phone lines were also cut.

He stated that since the raid last week, the mission had increased its security from five to eight security officers, but these officers were no matches for the group yesterday morning who held the securities at knife point during the raid.

Taiwanese Embassy in Honiara yesterday expressed grave concern over these ongoing attacks on the technical mission.

It had written to the Department of Foreign Affairs of Solomon Islands expressing regret on the on going criminal activities happening at the technical mission.

ROC Taiwan Embassy second secretary William Hsu said he strongly wished the department ensured authorities responsible take action.

"The Embassy strongly wishes the department (foreign affairs) to request the authorities concerned to take urgent action to arrest the criminals and patrol the Taiwan Technical Mission area frequently to safeguard the staff security," Hsu said.

Meanwhile, police have apprehended a suspect and he is currently being interviewed by police.

Police Media adviser Nick Spinks said the suspect is one of 12 young boys currently in custody over criminal activities happening over the weekend.

October 4, 2006

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

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