28 Jan 2010

French police probe new self-styled republic in French Polynesia

12:24 pm on 28 January 2010

Police in French Polynesia have reportedly moved against a group which this month purported to have set up a new republic, called Hau Pakumotu.

The French prosecutor in Tahiti, Jose Thorel, has told the Tahititoday blog that investigators have seized money and illegally issued identity cards following searches in Papeete and on the island of Moorea.

Mr Thorel says the inquiry is focussing on alleged swindle and false use of titles.

Last week's launch of Hau Pakumotu in Moorea happened in the presence of police and was attended by about 100 people.

One of the leaders of the self-styled republic, Beky Teamo, told Tahiti's La Depeche newspaper that it had been launched on Whaiora marae in New Zealand in November.

Mr Teamo said the republic has named a president, 12 ministers for a 15-year-term, three senators and seven representatives.

The group claims to be fighting against the high cost of living and wants to offer jobs to young people by hiring 130 firefighters on Moorea.