Support: Mixed reactions on officer assaulting teenager

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Evidence has emerged that the video showing a Tongan policeman beating a male teenager had been edited.

A new photo has surfaced online showing the teenage boy who was beaten by a Tongan police officer apparently standing, while a Tonga College student lies face down on the ground.

The video footage, which was uploaded to Facebook earlier this month, appears to have been cut to omit footage of the teenager hitting the student.

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It has been claimed the fight started over a relationship with a female student.

The police officer who was accused of hitting the teenage boy is shown in the photo heading to where the incident happened.

The teenage boy who was beaten by the Tongan police officer is standing, while a Tonga College student lies face down on the ground.

The teenage boy who was beaten by the Tongan police officer is standing, while a Tonga College student lies face down on the ground.

The incident occurred after a fight broke out at a rugby game.

Earlier reports said the officer could be seen punching the student before kicking him and finishing him off with a punch to the head.

Overdue officer in France

The police officer has left the country and is said to be with his family in France, where he had reportedly signed a contract with a rugby union club.

The officer was due to return on August 20.

Tonga’s Police Minister, Hon Sifa Tu’utafaiva, said claims on Facebook that the Ministry allowed the officer to go on leave to avoid charges being laid against him were false.

The new photo has divided the Tongan online community, with many users supporting the officer.

“If the police officer did not intervene the student might have been in serious trouble,” one comment said in Tongan.

“What would the Ministry of Police do to the teenage boy who hit the student?” another  Facebook user asked.

“Tongans can only learn when they are beaten”, one commentator said, referring to the Tongan adages Ko e Tonga ia ke taa’i pe or taa’i ke poto or ‘Ai ‘o taa’i or ‘hit him or her’ a common adage delivered when someone is thought to be behaving badly. 

However, another Facebook user said: “The Police officer should never ever hit someone like that no matter what. They should not take the law to their own hands. There is no law in Tonga that allows officers to hit someone.”

How long before violence stops?

Police said there was no immediate remedy for the violence within the police force.  

"We have taken a very, very, hard line, but I think as anybody realises you don't change the culture in an organisation in a few months or even a few years," Tonga’s Police Commissioner, Grant  O'Fee said.

"I'm the first to admit we have a long way to go,” he said.

Facebook users have asked whether Tongans have to wait for evolution to change police behaviour in 100 years or whether the Tongan authorities will be realistic and do something about the problem.

However, most comments on Facebook agree that beating in Tonga is customary and that has become traditional for Tongans to use beating as a disciplinary measure.

No formal complaint laid

A Police statement sent to Kaniva News said the officer accused of punching the teenage boy had left the kingdom on an ‘approved’ leave.

It said no further action could be taken until the officer returned to Tonga.

Some Tongans have claimed there have been instances in the past where officers were charged with violence, but allowed to go on leave to avoid facing court. The officers had not returned and the court cases had been  left unheard.

The Police Minister, Hon. Sifa Tu’utafaiva, told Parliament on Thursday last week no formal complaint had been laid against the officer for beating the teenager.

He said the police had enough evidence to charge the officer.

Hon. Tu’utafaiva said police had only become aware the officer had left the country when they investigated the video.

The main points

  • Evidence has emerged that the video showing a Tongan policeman beating a student had been edited.
  • A new photo has surfaced online showing the teenage boy who was beaten by a Tongan police officer apparently standing, while a Tonga College student lies face down on the ground.
  • The video footage, which was uploaded to Youtube earlier this month, appears to have been cut to omit footage of the teenager hitting the student.
  • Earlier reports said the officer could be seen punching the student before kicking him and finishing him off with a punch to the head.
  • The police officer has left the country and is said to be with his family in France, where he had reportedly signed a contract with a rugby union club.

Comments / Tālanga

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  1. Kuo e’a hake ‘eni ha fakamo’oni ngali ne toe ‘etita’i o to'o ha konga he fo’i vitio ko ia ‘oku ‘asi ai ha tangata polisi Tonga ‘oku ne ta ha tokotaha tangata pea toki fakahu hake ki he ‘initaneti.

    Kuo ma’anu hake ‘eni he Feisipuka ha la’ita fo’ou ‘oku tu’u ai ‘a e tamasi’i ko ia ne taa’i ‘e he Polisi lolotonga ia ‘oku tokoto ‘o hanga ki he kelekele ha tamasi’i ako teunga Kolisi Tonga.

     ‘Oku ngali na’e tu’usi ‘a e fo’i vitoo, ‘a ia na’e tuku hake ki he Feisipuka ‘i he konga ki mu’a ‘o e mahina kuo ‘osi o  to’o ‘a e konga ko ia hono ta ‘e he tamasi’i ‘a e tamasi’i ako Kolisi Tonga.

     ‘Oku ‘i ai e taukave ‘o pehe ne taa’i ‘e he tamasi’i ‘a e tamasi’i ako tu’unga i ha va ‘i he ta’ahine ako. Na’e hoko e me’a ni hili ia ha fuhu ‘i ha ‘akapulu ne fai. fakatatau ki he lipooti.

    Na’e ‘uluaki lipooti ki mu’a o pehe ne tuki ‘e he ‘ofisa ‘a e tamasi’i ako ‘ikai teunga ko 'eni he fo'i vitioo ‘o fakamulituku ‘aki hano fu’u ‘aka he ‘ulu.

    Kuo mavahe ‘a e ‘ofisa polisi ia mei Tonga i ha’ane livi ‘ana ne tali ‘e he Potungaue  pea ‘oku pehe kuo ne ‘i Falanise ia mo hono family  ‘a ia kuo ‘osi fakamo’oni ia mo ha’ane kalapu ‘akapulu ai.

    Na’e totonu ke foki hake ki Tonga ‘i he Pulelulu uike kuo ‘osi ‘aho 20 ‘Aokosi ka kuo te’eki ai.

    Na’e pehe ‘e he Minisita Polisi ‘a Tonga, ‘Onapolo Siosifa Tu’utafaiva ko e taukave ko ia he Feisipuka ‘o pehe na’e fakangofua ‘e he Potungaue ‘a e ‘ofisa ke folau ke hao mei hano faka’ilo ‘oku ‘ikai ke mo’oni ia.

    Kuo hanga foki ‘e he la’i ta fo’ou ko ‘eni kuo e’a hake he neti ‘o fakafa’afa’ahi e komiuniti Tonga o tokolahi ‘a e poupou ki he ‘ofisa polisi hili ene me’a ne fai.

    Ko  e ngaahi fakamatala ‘eni kuo tuku hake ki he Feisipuka kau ki he ta ko ‘eni:

    Ka ne ta’unga e hu hake ‘a ‘ofisa ‘o tokoni ‘e faingatamaki  e tokotaha ako ko ‘eni, ko e lau ia ‘e taha.

    Ko e ha e me’a ‘a e potungaue polisi ‘e fai ki he tokotaha ko ‘eni na’a ne tuki’i ‘a e tamasi’i ako ‘Atele, ko e lau ia ‘e taha.

    Ko e Tonga ia ‘e toki poto pe hano taa’i, ko e lau ia ‘a e ni’ihi he Feisipuka ‘o nau ‘uhinga foki ko e lea maheni ‘eni ‘i Tonga ‘oku fai ka ‘oku mahino ai ‘a e toki fakaongo pe Tonga he taimi lahi ‘o ka taa’i, hange ko e te’eki pe pau’u pe fehalaaki hake ha leka ko e lea pe ‘oku vave hono ‘ohake ko e pehee – ‘ai ‘o taa’i foki.

    Neongo ia na’e ‘i ai ‘a e tokotaha Feisipuka na’a ne pehe ‘e ia ‘oku ‘ikai pe ha totonu ‘e taha ‘a e ‘ofisa Polisi ke ne ta ha taha tatau ai pe. ‘Oku ‘ikai totonu ke nau to’o ‘ekinautolu e lao ki honau nima. ‘Oku ‘ikai ha lao ia ‘i Tonga te ne faka’ata ‘a e kau ‘ofisa ke ta ha taha.

    Ka ko e ha e loloa pea fakangata hono ta fakamamahi’i ‘o e kakai?

    Kuo fakaha ‘e he kau polisi kuo ‘ikai ha faito’o vave he taimi ni ki hono kei ta ‘o e kakai ‘e he kau polisi.

    Pehe ‘e he komisiona polisi ‘a Tonga, Grant O’Fee ‘oku nau matu’aki ngaue fakamaatoato ke ta’ofi ‘a e faingata’a ko ‘eni ka ko e me’a ke ‘iloo ‘e ‘ikai lava ke liliu hake pe ha fa’ahinga to’onga fakaanga fakafonua kuo akafia  ‘i ha kautaha ‘i ha lau mahina pe ‘i ha ngaahi ta’u. Na’a ne pehe ko ia ia ‘a e fuofua tokotaha ke ne fakamahino ko e hala loloa eni kuo foua ‘e he potungaue ‘i hono feinga’i ke solova ‘a e palopalema ni.

    Ka ‘oku toe fehu’ia foki ia ‘i he Feisipuka pe ‘e tatali ai pe ‘a  Tonga ke toki liliu ‘e he mamafuli ‘o taimi ‘a e to’onga ta fakamamahi ko ‘eni ‘a e kau polisi ‘i he ta’u ‘e 100 ka hoko mai pe ko e fai mo fai fakamo’omo’oni a ‘e he kau ma’u mafai ‘a Tonga ha me’a ki he palopalema ko ‘eni.

    Ka neongo ia na’e tokolahi ‘a e kau talanga he Feisipuka ne na u tui tatau kuo anga’aki e taa ‘i Tonga pea kuo tuku fakaholo hono  ngaue’aki ko e founga akonaki.

    Na’e tuku mai foki ha fakamatala ‘a e kau polisi ki he Kaniva ‘o pehe kuo mavahe ‘a e polisi ko ia ne ne fai ‘a e taa mei Tonga ‘i ha’ane livi ‘ana ne ‘osi tali ia ‘e he potungaue.

    Na’e pehe ‘e ‘ikai lava toe fai ha me’a kae ‘oleva ke foki hake ‘ofisa ki Tonga.

     ‘Oku tukuaki’i e he kau Tonga ‘e ni’ihi na’e ‘i ai ‘a e ngaahi keisi peheni ‘i he kuohili na’e faka’ilo ai ha kau polisi ki he ta, ka ne iku ‘o nau moulu hake ‘o hao ki muli ‘i ha’anau livi ke ‘oua na’a hopo’i kinautolu. Kuo ‘ikai toe foki hake kau ‘ofisa ko ia pea ‘oku kei tu’u ta’e hopo’i ai pe ngaahi keisi ko ia a’u mai ki he ‘aho ni.

    Na’e fakaha ‘e he Minisita Polisi, Tu’utafaiva ki he Fale Alea ‘i he uike kuo ‘osi na’e ‘ikai ha launga ia kau ki hono ta ‘e he polisi ‘a e tamasi’i.

    Na’a ne pehe neongo ia na’e ‘osi ma’u pe ‘e he kau polisi ‘a e fakamo’oni fe’unga ke faka’ilo ‘a ‘enau ‘ofisa ko ‘eni.

    Na’e toe pehe foki ‘e Tu’utafaiva na’e toki ‘ilo pe ia ‘e he kau polisi kuo mavahe ‘a e ‘ofisa mei he fonua ‘i he taimi na’e fai ai hono fakatotolo’i ‘o e fo’i vitioo.