By PETER SUR
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
A 35-year-old Hilo man received a bruised face and two criminal charges for allegedly using his cell phone to record restroom activity.
South Hilo patrol officers arrested Faavae E. Tuinei around 7 p.m. Saturday after he had been restrained by three people, including the uncle of one of the victims.
He has since been charged with two counts of first-degree invasion of privacy. Tuinei is scheduled to appear in District Court at 2 p.m. today for a preliminary hearing.
Police initially received a report from the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. According to Lt. Greg Esteban, a 24-year-old woman who was using the restroom saw a hand and a phone peeking under the stall dividers.
Confronted outside the restroom, Tuinei denied everything and walked away.
Fifty minutes later, Esteban said, a 25-year-old uncle confronted Tuinei after his 13-year-old niece told him that the man was trying to record her using the restroom at the Puainako Town Center.
The uncle chased Tuinei on foot and and was able to get the attention of two unidentified people in a passing car, who restrained him until police arrived.
During the confrontations, the uncle assaulted Tuinei, Esteban said. His booking photo showed fresh bruising to his face.
Esteban said the Hawaii Police Department is requesting that the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office file a third-degree assault charge against the uncle.
“The message would be: in spite of what emotions take over … you can’t take the law into your own hands,” he said.
Police declined to identify the uncle since he has not been charged and was not arrested.
Police also recovered Tuinei’s phone, but Esteban declined to say what evidence it might contain. He said he “can’t comment” on whether Tuinei is a suspect in other voyeur activities.
A search of his name did not bring up any prior criminal record in the Hawaii state judiciary website.
Tuinei’s bail was set at $20,000. First-degree invasion of privacy is a Class C felony.
Tuesday in district court, a judge denied Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa’s motions for supervised release and a reduction in bail.