Police search for knife in wake of political activists’ attempted murder charges

Police in Tonga have been searching for a knife after two political activists had been arrested.

Vilisoni Tauelangi (L), ‘Asiata Māsima

‘Asiata Māsima, 54, of Ha’ateiho appeared at the Magistrate Court on Friday charged with attempted murder.

Vilisoni Tauelangi, 48, of Pea was arrested last night from his residence at Hoi for alleged offences of attempted murder and conspiracy, the police said in a statement.

It said Tauelangi is the “co-accused of Mr. ‘Asiata Masima who appeared in his livestreaming footage via social media”.

“Both suspects will be appearing in court today.

“Further charges may be laid as the investigation progresses”.

A streamed video seen by Kaniva News appeared to show police officers entered Tauelangi’s house while he was livestreaming. He told his followers the police were looking for him.

The video showed an ununiformed officer suddenly entered Tauelangi’s house and showed him what appeared to be his police ID. He then handcuffed Tauelangi.

Another officer was overheard as asking about a knife which he claimed was in the possession of Tauelangi and his co-accused Māsima.

“Ko fē hele na’a’ mo ō moia”, the officer asked in Tongan about the knife.

Tauelangi denied it and said there was no knife.  

The officer then replied and said they were going to search his property.

Kaniva News understand the arrests came in the midst of a long-standing contentions between two groups of political supporters.

One is the supporters of the PTOA (democratic) Party and the other is an anti-democratic group known as Tū Family.

The rival groups have armed themselves with Facebook and YouTube accounts to incite dares, trade insults and make threats.

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