Vaiusu village issues public apology to Chinese community
The Vaiusu Village Council has issued a public apology to China’s Ambassador, Chao Xiaoliang, and the Chinese community in Samoa, over an incident where a Chinese national was killed at Vaitele last Saturday night.
The apology is contained in a statement sent to the Samoa Observer by senior Vaiusu Chief, Ulugia Petelo Kavesi, on Thursday night.
“We, the Ali’i and Faipule of Vaiusu village deeply apologise to the Chinese community and your Excellency Ambassador Chao Xiaoliang of the Peoples Republic of China’s Embassy in Samoa,” the statement reads.
“We understand you are deeply wounded and please know we feel your hurt ourselves. We condemn this unfortunate murder of a Chinese national by some thugs from our village and we take full responsibility of their ill-fated actions.”
The village assured they are working with the Police to track down the men responsible to “bring them to Justice.”
Vaiusu’s apology did not stop with the Chinese community.
“We have met with our Hon. Prime Minister, susuga Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi on Thursday 17th October 2019 and formally apologised to him for giving Samoa a bad name, especially to our Chinese friends who have contributed significantly to our people and economy in many ways.”
The apology follows confirmation that at least three of the four men charged in relation to the attack are from Vaiusu.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Village Mayor, Ulugia Ierome, said the men’s actions have brought shame to the village and everyone in Samoa.
He said they had contemplated carrying out a ifoga (traditional apology) to the family of the Chinese man but decided against it.
They settled on a public apology instead.
"We have left the investigation to the Police to do their legal part while we deal with the families of these perpetrators,” he said.
The Village has yet to decide on the punishment for the families, Ulugia said.
"We are delaying the handing down of the punishment as we are still trying to confirm all the families involved.”
Ulugia also denied suggestions that the attack was motivated by race.
“I don’t think this is something they planned because they hate Chinese. I don't see such things in this village,” he said.
"We have two Chinese stores in Vaiusu. If there was anything of the sort here in the village, maybe we wouldn't have been able to have the Chinese stores here.
"We also always look after these stores and give advise to have the stores closed early because although we are on duty around the area up until 12-1am., we never know what could happen.”
As for Saturday night, he said: “I am sure it's because they wanted money too much or something.
“I can assure you there's no such thing as discrimination in this village."
The attack on Saturday night killed Chinese national, Cao Yaqing, who had lived in Samoa for ten years. The killing has been widely condemned in Samoa.
The following is the apology from Vaiusu:
APOLOGY BY ALI’I AND FAIPULE OF VAIUSU VILLAGE TO THE CHINESE COMMUNITY AND AMBASSADOR CHAO XIAOLIANG OF THE PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF CHINA EMBASSY IN SAMOA.
We, the Alii and Faipule of Vaiusu village deeply apologise to the Chinese community and your Excellency Ambassador Chao Xiaoliang of the Peoples Republic of China’s Embassy in Samoa.
We understand you are deeply wounded and please know we feel your hurt ourselves. We condemned this unfortunate murder of a Chinese national by some thugs from our village and we take full responsibility of their ill-fated actions.
We are closely working together and assisting the Police in order to track down these (alleged) criminals to bring them to Justice. We have met with our Hon. Prime Minister, susuga Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi on Thursday 17th October 2019 and formally apologised to him for giving Samoa a bad name especially to our Chinese friends who have contributed significantly to our people and economy in many ways.
We will banish these (alleged) murderers and their families once we complete our own investigation to be presented to our village council meeting scheduled for Saturday 2nd November 2019.
Once again, we deeply apologise and we ask for your forgiveness. We also apologise to our Government and our people.
Ma le faaaloalo tele
Ali'i ma Faipule of Vaiusu Village