Police arrest and charge “King Faipopo”
Malele Paulo, the man better known as “King Faipopo”, was arrested and charged by the Police yesterday evening.
This was confirmed by his lawyer, Unasa Iuni Sapolu.
She said the charge is in connection to allegations made by Mr. Paulo online, which allegedly defamed Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.
“King Faipopo is charged with defamation,” Unasa told the Weekend Observer during an interview at the Police station.
It was not possible to get an official comment from the Police last night.
As of press time, Unasa was waiting with her client for the Registrar to see whether Mr. Paulo would be released.
According to a family member, Mr. Paulo who is based in Australia arrived on Thursday to attend his mother’s funeral, which is being held at Aleipata.
He was arrested around 3pm at the S.N.P.F. Plaza yesterday.
“He went to get a sim card and that’s when he was arrested by the Police.”
“And the mother’s remains are to be transported to Aleipata, but there is a delay as her son was brought in for Police questioning.”
In August last year, Prime Minister Tuilaepa filed a criminal complaint with Police to initiate the process of charging Mr. Paulo.
According to the press release issued by the Press Secretariat at the time, the Prime Minister wanted Mr. Paulo brought to Samoa to be charged under the Criminal Libel Act.
“The Prime Minister's complaint centers on recent accusations posted by Paulo on YouTube and later posted on the Social Media via Facebook accusing Tuilaepa of murder and smuggling firearms,” the press release said.
The statement quoted Tuilaepa saying: "I am not prohibiting anyone from exercising their freedom of speech or freedom of expression but I take issue when the rights of the innocent, like myself are violated through lies and deceit.
"This kind of lying and attacking members of the community through social media is what the law was designed to prevent.”
Mr. Paulo, while under the custody of police, had live recording videos from the Police around 6:14pm.