FORMER POLICE COMMISSIONER REVEALS KIDNAP PLAN

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, Feb. 28) – Former Fiji police commissioner Andrew Hughes has revealed that he and his family were to be kidnapped and held for ransom apparently at the behest of military chief Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

The Canberra Times reports Hughes made the revelation at a dinner hosted by Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty in Canberra last night.

Hughes was sacked by Commodore Bainimarama after the December 5 coup.

While Hughes had spoken generally of threats made against him and his family in the final days of his term in Fiji, last night he revealed more details which led him to believe he, his wife Vicki and their 17-year-old twin boys were to be kidnapped and held for ransom, the report said.

"It was pretty intense. The threat was leveled at me initially and you get that as commissioner and ... I wasn't overly concerned about it but it spread to my family and so the family was uplifted [out of the country] very quickly and the AFP were terrific, they moved in very fast," he said.

Hughes said the action was to be taken to force the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase to meet the demands of Commodore Bainimarama, including that the police commissioner be sacked.

Hughes, who is now working with the AFP in Canberra, continuing his 30-year stint with the service, has applied for an international peacekeeping position with the United Nations in New York.

Hughes said his experiences, as difficult as they were, should not dissuade other AFP officers from serving in the Pacific. He said while the end was disappointing, his assignment had been challenging and rewarding. Hughes said it was simply a fact that "life in the Pacific is very volatile. I don't regard the time I had in Fiji as a failure, on a personal level, professional level, whatever," he said.

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