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Another visiting tourist from Samoa ordered to respect local laws

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man from Samoa, who arrived in the territory recently under a 30-day visitor’s permit, and is described by the District Court as a visiting tourist, has been ordered to respect all local laws, if he wants to visit American Samoa again in the future.

Natu Ifopo was convicted and sentenced last week for one count of public peace disturbance, following an incident where he caused trouble at a store and challenged the Asian store operator to a fight after the operator told Ifopo that local laws prohibit stores from selling alcohol to people under 21.

According to court information, Ifopo went to the store with some friends and while there, one of Ifopo’s friends told him that he was wrong to challenge the storeowner to a fight after he refused to sell them beer.

Ifopo presented his ID to the storeowner which proved that he was only 20 years old. According to the government, Ifopo’s two friends who were with him on the night of the incident were also under 21, and that’s why none of them were able to purchase alcohol from the store.

The incident occurred after Ifopo arrived in American Samoa two weeks earlier from Samoa. He was on island to visit family.

During sentencing, District Court Judge Fiti Sunia told the defendant that if he is a visitor to American Samoa, he must respect and follow the laws of the territory.

Sunia told Ifopo he is “very lucky” that his actions didn’t cause any major problems that would've resulted in the court handing down a much harsher sentence.

Ifopo was sentenced to 6-months probation under several conditions, which include a fine of $100. He is not to violate any local laws and he must return to Samoa as soon as possible.

If Ifopo is granted a 30-day visitor’s permit in the future, Sunia warned him not to commit any crime but to respect the laws of the territory.