An uncle of one of the men charged for the business invasion that led to the death of Chinese worker Cao Yaqunh of Pacific Trade Industrial Co at Vaitele earlier this month has spoken out to say that his nephew is one of the youth now in custody.
Jason told Samoa Global News that amongst the four youth charged and held in custody, two of them are brothers and one of them is an uncle to the two boys.
Jason’s nephew is the best friend of the younger brother who had gone along with them that night and is now also charged.
According to Jason who mows lawns to earn a living, the boys were running away after the burglary when they heard the elder of the two brothers calling out for help (fia ola).
“They said he was calling out pleading for his life.”
“Fai mai sa fogo mai i le fia ola.”
According to the source when his nephew and the others ran back, they saw the older of the two brothers tied by the neck and bleeding from his arm. He says the older brother had an injured arm from placing it up to stop an alleged knife attack to his head.
“When they ran back they saw the older brother tied by the neck.”
“Fai mai o la e kamomoe ese, ae fogõ mai le alii makua i le fia ola, ai ua maua e Saiga le koakasi legā, ae o aku o la e sele mai le ua i le maea, ae ua sau le palapala i le kualima”.
Jason says that there is no excuse for the alleged burglary but believes and it is his opinion that the boys did not intend to kill anyone.
According to Jason the boys are troubled youth from Vaiusu and Vaigaga. He says his nephew has become involved with the wrong group of friends.
“O lo’u nephew le uo lelei lava o le alii laikiki o le ‘auso, ae ua alaku ai foi ma ia i kaaga o lega po.”
Member of Parliament for Urban West Faumuina Leatinuu Wayne Fong came forward to apologise on behalf of the youth of his electorate stating that he believed the incident was not a hate crime but rather a case of youth knowing that Chinese businesses typically keep large sums of money on their premises.
“I encourage all Chinese Companies to please bank their takings daily and avoid holding money in their homes and businesses. It is a risk and a very dangerous one that you take because you are opening yourself to being targeted by thieves,” said Faumuina at the time.
“I don’t believe that this is a hate crime and we don’t hate Chinese”.
Associate Minister for Communication and Information Technology Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi was the first to speak out about the incident, stating that a marked breakdown in our cultural practices and traditions has led to such violent crimes.
“This is not Samoan. O Samoa e iai le “va” and we all know where the boundaries are to maintain that.”
“Youth are not going to school, they are no longer attending church regularly, they’re not being brought up in good home environments; they walk around idle and jobless;
“So it’s unemployment, lack of education, bad upbringing and being out of touch with the foundations of church and culture,” Lealailepule had said at the time.
Police Commissioner Su’a Fuiavailiili Egon Keil confirms that only 4 men have been charged in relation to the incident. Those charged have not made any public comments or appeared in Court and it is not clear at this time if the youth have legal representation.