Tongan police warn media after photos of bloody and bruised man leaked

The Tongan police have warned that taking photos of any suspects or accused inside its watch-houses is strictly forbidden.

The warning came after Kaniva News sent Police photos we received from an anonymous source.

Police have also denied that the man in the photograph had anything to do with an armed robbery.

The pictures show a man with a bruise on his left eye and swelling under his right eye holding what appears to be white clothing streaked in blood.

The man was apparently in police custody, sitting on the floor while a female police officer standing close by and facing towards the camera.

One photo showed the man with his head bowed. In another he was pointing towards the camera.

The person who sent us the photos claimed the man was a suspect in an armed robbery.

We then sent the photos to the Tongan Police for verification.

In response, Telesia Adams from the Police Communication Centre said the man in the photos was taken to the police station after he was involved in a fight at Tali’eva Night Club and was processed before the police later released him.

She did not say when the incident happened.

When we asked if the person in the photos had anything to do with an armed robbery Adams said there was an armed robbery case at Pahu at one of the Chinese shops, but the man in the photo had nothing to do with it.

Man in custody 21
The man was apparently in police custody, sitting on the floor while a female police officer standing close by and facing towards the camera. Photo/supplied

Police were still investigating the robbery, Adams said.

“I haven’t received confirmed information relating to this case,” she said.

“I will inform you accordingly when I have concrete information.”

Adams was concerned at how the photos were taken without Police permission and leaked to media.

“It is not allowed for photos to be taken of any accused person or suspect who is taken into our custody especially inside our Watch House,” she said.

“These photos were taken without the knowledge or approval from us.”

Although the identity of the person who sent Kaniva News the photographs is unknown, the photographs were sent from an e-mail address that appears to link to a Chinese Facebook page from Taiwan.

The sender urges readers of the e-mail to circulate the photographs on Facebook.

The main points

  • The Tongan police have warned that taking photos of any suspects or accused inside its watch-houses is strictly forbidden.
  • The warning came after Kaniva News sent Police photos we received from an anonymous source.
  • They showed a man with a black bruise on his left eye and swelling under his right eye holding what appeared to be white clothing streaked in blood.
  • Telesia Adams from the Police Communication Centre said the photos were taken without the knowledge or approval of the police.

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