“This is not the Samoa I know” Finnish tourist claims he was beaten and robbed by seawall

Finnish national Tommi ‘Tomasi’ Stenroth’ alleges he was beaten unconscious and mugged in Apia, for the first time in nearly 25 years of visiting Samoa.

While walking to meet his friend shortly after midnight last Tuesday, Mr Stenroth said he felt a sudden blow to the head, and fell to the ground. He said he woke from unconsciousness to feel his pockets being rummaged through, and tried to fight off his assailants.

“I tried to kick this person away but they started to kick me in my back, my head, and I fell unconscious again.

“They took everything,” he said. “They beat me, kicked me and took everything I was carrying: money, camera, wallet, my bag, even my hat! I love hats.”

Mr Stenroth said when the attack was over, he managed the painful walk to the bar his friend was in, who immediately put him in a taxi to his accommodation. When he got there, the family owners called the Police.

He said he could hardly stand, and was bleeding from his head. Even giving his statement at the police station he felt dizzy, and rambling, and was eventually taken to hospital, and given a prescription for painkillers.

A week later, sharing his story, Mr Stenroth is bruised, but bright eyed. He said despite the alleged attack, he has not fallen out of love with Samoa, since his very first visit back in 1993.

“I had never seen anything like it, I had never experienced anything like it. And I had been to Pacific Islands before but there is no place like Samoa.

“The people, the culture, for me it is so alive. I was lucky enough during my early years here I met some elders who told me stories, ancient legends, showed me sacred places.”

The friends he made back then remain his best friends today. In the days after the incident, he has been overwhelmed with support, like offers of drives around town, a loaned cellphone, a “man-bag” to replace his stolen one, all for free.

“That is the Samoa I know,” Mr Stenroth said.

That’s why a few “bad seeds” won’t spoil the country for him, he said. But he has noticed a change in Samoa lately, and hearing more stories like his than before.

He admits his friends here have jokingly scolded him for walking alone after midnight. But he had never felt unsafe before, and had no reason to fear, Mr Stenroth said. He won’t walk alone in the dark anymore, however, not without an increased police presence on the footpath.

“I’ll be on my guard now, that’s for sure. But I will not let these couple of bad seeds to destroy my beautiful Samoa and the way I know it.”

The Samoa Police Service Criminal Investigation Division (CID) confirms investigation into this matter.

They are yet to identify or determine who the suspects are and are endeavoring to trace all information that may lead to possibly identifying a possible suspect.  Investigations continue.

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