We all deserve to live a life free of crime and violence.

It is tragic staff of a business were attacked on the eve of White Sunday and one of them died from his injuries. 

As families retired for the night in anticipation of White Sunday celebrations the next day, others with malicious intent, invaded the premises of a business with an intent to rob and bring harm to anyone who stood in their way. 

Pacific Trade & Industry Co. Limited staff member, Lin Jia, told the Samoa Observer in an interview of how he and his colleagues were attacked at their Vaitele company premises around 10pm on Saturday night.

Having lived in Samoa for 25 years, he said he was shocked at the boldness that the attackers displayed to enter their premises with a mission to bring harm.

"I am shocked at how the people that did this to us were not scared of the law, that they could jump over a fence and just come and kill a person and also cause harm upon us.”

The Police Commissioner, Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil, confirmed the attack when he was contacted by this newspaper.

"One person is murdered; one is in critical condition," the Commissioner said. 

"Robbery is definitely the motive". 

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Mr. Jia said the attack was perpetrated by five masked assailants with three carrying weapons and the other two keeping watch. 

It is shocking and worrying that the number of attacks targeting foreigners is on the rise in Samoa, especially those of Asian origin. In August last year a Chinese volunteer was robbed and killed at the seawall, and in February this year a shop at Vailoa run by a Chinese couple was the target of an attack and the theft of $60,000 cash. Therefore, the attack and fatality at Vaitele on Saturday night is the third incident of its kind in 14 months and warrants closer scrutiny. 

Was this a deliberate attack targeting business owners of Asian origin? Or is this a random opportunistic attack that endangers the lives of everyone? 

There is no doubt that the attacks and killings on Saturday night, will compel citizens and residents of Samoa to ask a lot of questions of the effectiveness of the Police and the work they do. 

But we must also remind ourselves that we are also obliged under the laws of the land to respect and uphold them. Our obligations include the need to report those in breach of the law, and to hand over or report to Police people we suspect of being involved in a crime. 

At the end of the day, the members of that five-member gang that attacked the Chinese-run business on Saturday night, will belong to a village and a family. Their criminal activities would be known to other members of their family, their friends or even neighbours. Last Saturday night they targeted the owners of Pacific Trade & Industry Co. Limited in a vicious attack, and when things get desperate and they need instant cash to feed their extravagant wicked lifestyles they could turn on you or me.

Surely the testimony of Mr. Jia, on the impact of this crime on him as a 25 year resident, will and should reverberate within the corridors of Government in Apia. Some key questions that should be asked are: Is this the new normal for a nation that prides itself as a Christian nation? And what are the issues that are giving rise to violent crimes such as these? 

Coming from Papua New Guinea (PNG) where such crimes have become the norm in major towns and cities, Samoans should not take these attacks for granted, because it could lead to the degeneration of society in Samoa and see anyone fall victim to these thugs. 

Therefore, the Police need the help of the community and the village councils to weed out these scumbags – who disappeared into the darkness on Saturday night – and are cowardly taking comfort behind the wall of anonymity and deliberate ignorance their family members or friends are offering. 

Everyone in this beautiful country deserves a life free of crime and the ability to go about one’s business without looking over his or her shoulder. Everyone has a right to go to sleep at night knowing that the man or woman next door or passerby has respect for your rights and freedom. Now that’s a Samoa we all want.

Have a lovely Tuesday Samoa and God bless. 

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