AFTER being in force for over four years and two months the Tongan Emergency Powers Regulation enforced on the Nuku’alofa Central Business District area since 17 November 2006, and later on other Proclaimed Areas of the capital, was lifted last Wednesday, 2 February, the Minister of Police, Dr Viliami Latu announced today. Dr Viliami Latu said that the Tongan Cabinet on February 2 had approved the lifting of the Emergency Powers Regulation based on a recommendation of the Ministry of Police, “that the country is peaceful.” He said the Police Commander and Senior Police officers had closely monitored the situation under the Emergency Powers Regulation, which had been repeatedly extended for 28 days since it came into force the day after the Nuku’alofa Central Business District was torched by protesters who had rallied at Pangai Si’i. Dr Viliami Latu (38) probably Tonga’s youngest-ever Minister of Police, said that an impetus for the lifting of the Emergency Powers Regulation was because Tonga’s Political Reform has been peaceful. “The Parliamentary Election on November 25 and the election of the Prime Minister went smoothly and peacefully,” he said. “I also believe that the public have regained confidence and trust in the Ministry of Police.” Following the November 16, 2006, riots the government was given the authority to use the military, police or any individual to maintain public order. Dr Latu declared that despite the overwhelming powers that were given to Tonga Defence Services and the Police, there was not one incidence between 17 November 2006 and 2 February 2011 when that authority was used. Right to use force and search without warrant Under the Emergency Powers Act the members of the Tonga Police Force and the Tonga Defence Services had the right to use force if necessary to restore public order when dealing with suspected persons, and they could without warrant stop and search vessels and aircrafts, and seize evidence in the designated areas.
Police and Crime
A 60-years-old ‘Alaki man who was found dead from gunshot wounds outside his home on Saturday January 29 is believed to have taken his own life, police confirmed yesterday.
Theft tops the list of the most committed crime in Tonga between 17-23 of January, the Deputy Commander of Police, Taniela Faletau said yesterday, and he urged parents to look after their sons and to get to know their whereabouts at night, so that they don’t get involved in criminal activities.
A 35-year-old mentally disturbed male prisoner was found dead in his prison cell at Hu’atolitoli Prison, Vaini, on January 8.
Police suspect that experienced thieves are recruiting young teenage boys to commit robberies in the Nuku’alofa area.
A 67 year old cyclist died on New Year’s Day from injuries sustained after his bicycle collided with a vehicle on Vuna Road. Meanwhile, police statistics show that New Year was generally peaceful despite a slight increase in reported crime, and 131 arrests for drunkenness in public places.
Only one of the 157 drivers who were the first to be breath tested for alcohol consumption on December 13 in Nuku’alofa was found to be over the limit.
A 54-year-old British national who was found dead at a home in Lifuka, Ha’apai, last week is believed to have taken her own life.
The introduction of breath testing of motorists for alcohol abuse that was scheduled to start yesterday has been postponed to December 8 because breath testing equipment had not arrived from New Zealand in time.
Police raids in Tonga and Australia yesterday under a transnational police investigation into illicit drugs resulted in the arrest of one person in Tongatapu and others in Australia.