Samoa Police Raid On Boat Yields Guns,

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Commissioner confirms operation, but says no one in custody

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 30, 2013) – Guns and ammunition from a boat that has been anchored for some weeks off shore of Luatuanu’u village were seized by Samoa police in a night raid earlier this week.

Five adults on board, three men and women – all foreigners, were taken in for questioning.

Officers in rubber boats zeroed in on the boat after observing it in a stake out that included paddling in canoes in the lagoon as if fishing.

They raided when they saw a light appear in the boat towards midnight on Tuesday.

A policeman had become curious about the boat after seeing it out at sea as he drove through Luatuanu’u to and from work.

Residents told him nothing about the boat other than that it appeared to be a fishing vessel.

Police Commissioner Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo confirmed the raid but not the details of sea raid.

"I have not seen the report yet," Lilomaiava said today. "No one is in custody at the moment," he said.

After the raid the boat was towed by the Police patrol boat Nafanua to Matautu Wharf in Apia Harbor.

The National Crime Unit (NCU) has stepped in to assist police with their investigation at the international level.

Luatuanu’u is a coastal village located on the east side of Upolu Island.

Two years ago a container ship docked at isolated Fagaloa Bay to avoid paying port fees at Matautu Wharf.

Cargo from it were brought to shore and taken away by trucks.

Residents of villages along the bay received handsome tips not to report the presence of the ship at Fagaloa.

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