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Men jailed for shameful attack in Samoa

The actions of two young men who attacked two Japanese volunteers at Sapunaoa in August this year were “destructive to Samoa’s reputation.”That was the opinion of Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, who convicted Leitu Ala, 19 and Mafutaga Tapu, 20, on Monday. The men have been jailed for 18 months each.The Court heard that the defendants punched andforcefully took a bike that belonged to one of the victims on the day of the incident.They threatened to kill, assaulted and uttered insulting words towards them.The victims are aged 28 and 58. Both are volunteers with the Japan International Cooperation Agency at Mulivai. The younger of the two teaches at Leulumoega-fou College while the second victim works at the JICA Office.The men were taking part in a fundraising marathon that started from the South Coast of Upolu. They were heading to Apia when the incident happened.“The first victim travelled by bike while the second followed behind in his car,” said Justice Vui.On a bridge at Sapunaoa, the first victim experienced a difficulty with his bike so the second victim stopped to assist.The defendants at the time were drinking under the bridge. They emerged intoxicated from the bridge and started to hassle the men.Ala approached the second victim who was in his vehicle and said; “**** you, give me money and go”. The man refused but Ala reached inside the vehicle.His co-defendant approached the first victim and demanded the bike. When he refused, Tapu punched him on the mouth and took the bike.In the victim impact report, the first victim said he felt afraid after he was punched and so gave up his helmet and the bike, worth about $1,032.The two defendants then ran away while the victims went to the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital for treatment.