Wednesday | December 13, 2017
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State briefs for October 12

3 parks cleared of homeless

HONOLULU (AP) — Authorities cleared about 100 homeless people who were illegally camping at three Kakaako parks.

Maintenance crews on Monday started clearing Kakaako Waterfront, Gateway and Kewalo Basin parks, which were closed last week to the public because of safety concerns.

The state Department of Public Safety says no arrests were made, but a police presence remains. “No trespassing” signs were posted Monday and sheriff’s vehicles were posted at entry points at Kakaako Waterfront Park.

State homeless coordinator Scott Morishige said outreach workers were on hand to help those who were displaced.

The Hawaii Community Development Authority is assessing damage to the grounds from vandalism and the encampments. An initial estimate was $500,000.

Groups protest vacation rental seminars

HONOLULU (AP) — A series of seminars aimed at teaching Hawaii residents how to capitalize on the Airbnb vacation rental craze stirred protests from those opposing the industry.

Fliers advertising three, 90-minute seminars called “Make Money With Airbnb” recently went out to thousands of Oahu homes.

The fliers were sent by Utah-based Response LLC, promising to teach people how to buy investment properties, renovate them and turn them into vacation rentals.

One of the events drew a crowd of protesters from the anti-Airbnb group Friends Against Illegal Rentals and Unite Here Local 5, a union representing thousands of Hawaii hotel employees.

The event also drew criticism from Airbnb. The company issued a cease-and-desist letter last week notifying seminar organizers and sponsors to discontinue using Airbnb’s trademarks in their material.

Woman sentenced in prostitution bribery case

HONOLULU (AP) — A woman found guilty of bribing federal agents in exchange for protecting her Hawaii massage parlor from prostitution raids was sentenced Tuesday to 21 months in prison.

A judge also sentenced Biyu Situ to three years’ supervised release. A jury found her guilty in April of two counts of bribery.

She was arrested after Homeland Security investigators said she offered money for raid protection, help with the U.S. citizenship test and recruitment of prostitutes.

Situ likely faces deportation, which in some ways can be a tougher sentence than imprisonment because it would be a forced separation from her family.

U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway is recommending Situ serve her sentence at a federal detention camp near the San Francisco area, where her children live.

 

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