Samoa Police Have Denied The Existence Of Gangs In The Country, Correcting Earlier Statements

Police have also apologized to several villages mentioned in a previous police press conference implying they were the hometowns of alleged gang members

APIA, Samoa (Talamua, August 05, 2016) – Police have denied the existence of any gangs in the country despite the reference to a gang called Original Blood Outlaw (OBO).

Twenty two young men were reprimanded and punished by the Vaimoso Village Council and have apologized for their involvement in OBO. The young men were sent out to do community work that included repainting the vandalized houses and public property.

However Police spokesman Superintendent Su’a Lemalu Tiumalu says police will only accept the existence of gangs when their investigations find proof of such activity.

In last weeks’ press conference, Inspector Maotaoalii Kaioneta Kitiona told the media that there were gangs causing trouble around the town area.

However, Superintendent Su’a Lemalu Tiumalu told the media this week that unless there is evidence to prove the existence of gangs and their activities, police cannot accept hearsay.

Su’a said no one has been charged with any gang related offence but admitted that more than 40 young people were brought into the main police station in Apia last Saturday for questioning.

He said the youths were later released and police are continuing their investigation into the allegations.

Police apologized
Police has also apologized to several villages mentioned in last weeks’ police press conference as the hometown of some of the young people alleged to be involved in gangs.

Su’a confirmed the villages of Vaimoso and Leauava’a have raised concern over the regular mention of their villages in the police press conferences in relation to gangs.

He said the concern was noted, especially when only 2 or 3 people are involved in an issue that could tarnish the reputation of a whole village.

He said the concern was also due to the strong words used by Inspector Maotaoalii as if challenging the youths who may be involved in gang activities.

Su’a said such words according to village complaints can only fuel anger and incite rebellious reaction from young people.

Su’a however commended the action taken by the Alii ma Faipule of Vaimoso village in punishing the 22 young men alleged to be members of OBO.

Su’a, who was present in the meeting with the Alii ma Faipule of Vaimoso said the young men were strictly told of the consequences if they disobey the village council’s decision.

Su’a also acknowledged the support from all the village councils around town area who are now working with the police to address the safety and security of the public.

The incident has also cautioned police to refrain from naming the villages of offenders.

Copyright © 2016 Talamua. All Rights Reserved

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