28 Sep 2006

American Samoa official denies he sponsored women involved in prostitution trial

10:57 am on 28 September 2006

An American Samoa lawmaker has denied that he sponsored two Chinese women who filed a complaint about an alleged prostitution operation, which police raided last month.

However, the Samoa News quotes House member Faalae L. Tunupopo as saying that his signature is on the women's 30-day permits, which allowed them to travel to American Samoa in March of this year, but he did it as a favor for a Samoan friend.

The newspaper says the permits for the women have long since expired and police detective John Cendrowski identified Fa'alae as the sponsor in a recent court hearing.

The women, in their 20s, are now under the care of the government.

Their complaint is the basis of the government's prostitution case against two Chinese nationals who have been accused of forcing the women into prostitution.

According to the Samoa News, the defendants, Fu Shen Kuo and Ju Sheng Wang, who allegedly operated the prostitution ring, are sponsored by Uiagalelei Iona, who is the Deputy Director of the government's Office of Real Property Management.