News Briefs: Two young male dies in separate incidents over Christmas

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2 January 2021 – News briefs from Tonga over the Christmas week includes two 19-year-old youths who died in separate incidents.

Police have issued a report that the death of a 19-year-old boy at a home in Folaha is alleged to be a suicide. Acting Deputy Commissioner Tevita Vailea said, “There were no suspicious circumstances.”

Report of the death was received by Police on the evening of Christmas Day. An inquest has been held to confirm the cause of death.

In the meantime on Christmas morning, another 19-year-old died at a home in Longolongo, and a 19-year-old youth has been charged with manslaughter.

According to Police, the incident occurred during a drinking party. An altercation and resulted in the victim being rushed to Vaiola Hospital where he was confirmed dead on arrival.

Police investigation continues and the accused remains in police custody.
More drug arrests in 2020 than 2019
A total of eight people have been arrested and charged with possession of illicit drugs pending court appearance early January. The arrests were at different locations in Tongatapu from December 21 – 28, cannabis and methamphetamine being the drugs seized.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Tevita Vailea said that a 45 year-old man was arrested at Tatakamotonga with cannabis. On the same day two men aged 25 and 28 were arrested at Fo’ui with cannabis plants and seeds.

On Christmas Day a 56-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman were arrested in a vehicle at Afa. Canabis and methamphetamine were seized. And on December 28, three men were arrested at Fo’ui, where cannabis was seized.

Police Taskforce also searched the home of one of the accused at Te’ekiu, and found cannabis, ammunitions, drugs paraphernalia, and cash.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Vailea said Tonga Police is committed to disrupt and and stop the supply of drugs and hold those responsible to account, “in order to keep our communities safe.”

In December alone, there have been 24 drug arrests, and for 2020 so far, police have made a total of 276 drug arrests, two more than the total drug arrests in 2019.
This special police holiday operation which ends in January 4, has involved 278 police officers working around the clock.

Digicel Pacific may be up for sale
The Pacific operations of Digicel reportedly worth $2 billion may be up for sale, according to a report on the Irish Times. A spokesman for Digicel confirmed that they have received approaches from a number of parties concerning their Pacific operations.

Vodaphone is interested according to their Regional CEO of Vodaphone Fiji, Pradeep Lal, in buying the Digicel operations in Nauru and Tonga. But Digicel has yet to issue any statement of plans to sell their Pacific operations. However, according to the Australian Financial Review, Chinese entities, including China Mobile, Huawei, and ZTE are considering buying Digicel’s Pacific operation which includes the businesses in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Nauru, and Tonga.

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