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PACIFIC CRIME CENTER MOVES FROM FIJI TO SAMOA "Political uncertainty" cited as reason for relocation

PAPEÉTE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, June 9, 2008) - The Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Center has been moved from Fiji to Samoa due to what Internet news sources described as "political instability" and "political uncertainty" in Fiji.

The new center has opened in Apia, Samoa, after having been based in Suva, Fiji for the past four years, FijiVillage.com reported on its Web site on Sunday (Saturday Tahiti time).

Fiji’s geographical location in the Pacific made it an ideal location and the decision to move out was premature, Ema Mua, public relations officer for the Fiji Police Force, told Fiji Times Online. "They should have known better because Fiji is the hub of the Pacific. We have an international airport and they will always fall back on Fiji."

The center’s board of management decided it had to be moved because of the ongoing instability surrounding Fiji, Tim Morris, assistant commissioner with the Australian Federal Police told ABC Radio, according to FijiVillage.com.

But when FijiVillage.com contacted Fiji’s interim government defense minister, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, he said he was unaware of the move and would comment once he had been briefed.

According to Fiji Times Online, the center coordinates the efforts of Pacific Island nations in fighting such transnational crimes as money laundering, human trafficking, drug trafficking and customs laws violations.

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