Police deal with bus, wedding and vendors on first day of S.O.E.
Breaches of State of Emergency (S.O.E.) orders can attract a fine of up to $10,000 tala or two years imprisonment.
That's the warning from Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil, a day after Samoa came under the orders of the state of emergency.
He said the Police encountered a few incidents on the first day of the S.O.E, especially non-compliance and warned that they will act in any given situation.
“I know there are some buses and we expect these things with people non compliant, especially in the beginning of these kinds of events so we’re doing everything possible and making sure that we’re visible and we act appropriately to each given situation,” he said.
“The thing is, the Police are not quick to make any arrest as it’s not our intention here, we don’t want to lock anyone up. And again, we don’t want to go there, that’s the last resort but if Police have to then we will but that’s not the spirit here.”
Incidents on the first day included a bus coming in from the west coast which was forced by the Police to turn around as well as some street vendors in Apia who were sent home.
A wedding ceremony that was convened, despite the S.O.E. orders banning the gathering of people, was also dealt with by the Police.
Fuiavaili'ili said the incidents were “expected” on the first day and he appealed to the public to cooperate and abide by the S.O.E. orders, which were sanctioned by the Cabinet and signed off by the Head of State.
“We’re all a little apprehensive and worried and the last thing we need is arrest and cops to come over and be heavy handed so we’re very guided and we’re trying to be judicious with our decisions and at the same time we have to obey the law,” he added. “So we’re put in a position where we have to try and be immediate and make sure that everyone comes out of this safely.”