Observer reporters threatened, assaulted

Three Samoa Observer women reporters were threatened and assaulted yesterday in the presence of three Police officers, when they went to cover a traffic accident at Tiapapata, Vailima.The reporters are Mrs Sarai Ripine, Mrs Nicola Hazelman-Siona and Miss Lanuaola Tupufia.The accident in question involved a truck with a tanker on its back tray that tipped over on the road at Tiapapata, Vailima.Two of the reporters were taking photos of the truck when a man walked over and told them to stop.“Hand over the camera and delete the photos,” he shouted at the reporters but they refused.One of them told him: “We are doing our job.”The other reporter, by that time, had walked towards their car to get her camera.She had picked up her camera, walked outside and was taking photos of the truck, when she saw the man walk towards her.She then went inside their car, and by that time the man had reached the car, and he asked her: “Have you taken a photo?”“Yes,” the reporter said.He then demanded: “Take the photo out of the camera.”The reporter did nothing.That was when the man reached inside the car through its opened door, grabbed her on her arm as he was trying to wrestle the camera from her with his other hand, and a tug-of-war began.The reporter then told him: “Give me my camera.”In response, the man said: “Watch your camera before I break it apart.”He also then threatened her, saying: “You wait and see what I will do to you if I see a photo of the truck in the paper.”In response, the reporter told the man she would lodge a complaint of assault against him with the Police.To which the man said: “Why don’t you make your complaint with the Police officers here?”He was told: “How can I if those policemen are not doing anything? They are just watching and doing nothing.”

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