More than 290 arrests since lockdown

More than 290 people have been arrested and two supermarket owners have been detained for breaches since state of emergency orders were brought in last month. 

The coronavirus lockdown began on March 21; since then 13 people have received tickets for being non-compliant with restrictions, the Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil, confirmed.

The 13 tickets issued include to street vendors, overloaded buses and shops that did not close according to times prescribed by the Government. 

The Police have issued more than 271 further warnings according to statistics that were current as at April 13.

In Upolu, the Police have written a total of 165 warnings and have given 46 verbal warnings.

In Savai’i, officers have warned 60 people altogether; 55 people have received citations; and five people have received verbal warnings.

"Since we started [...] we've arrested a total of 294 people," the Commissioner said. 

"It's a lot of people."

The rest were regular crimes including burglary and theft, said Fuiavailiili.

Two of the cases of non-compliance involved supermarkets, two owners of which were detained by Police.

Both owners have since been released after paying fines of $200 each, the Deputy Police Commissioner, Papalii Monalisa Tiai, told the Samoa Observer.

"We've detained two, but [... they] have since been released," she said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

"Fines were issued as owners of the shops and each got $200 each."

Another person to be fined by police was a stall owner, Malavai Ainuu, who received a $200 penalty for breaching state of emergency orders. 

He has since questioned the implementation of the law.

"If you don’t pay within 24 hours you get arrested and then they go through the regular [processes] with the Court," Fuiavailiili told the Samoa Observer on Thursday.


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