4 Jul 2012

Police remove self-styled king from Tahiti hospital

2:28 pm on 4 July 2012

An estimated 60 French police have ended the occupation of a disused French Polynesian hospital by a group claiming to be the rightful owners of the land.

The action was taken following a court order for the adherents of the self-styled Pakumotu republic to vacate Papeete's Mamao hospital.

It followed a complaint by the management of the new Taaone hospital that patients' lives were at risk if access to about one million dollars worth of drugs still stored at Mamao was not assured.

The about 40 squatters had been at the site for several days, led by their self-styled king, Athanase Terii.

He has been defying the French state for more than two years, refusing to recognise its authority.

According to local media reports, Mr Terii challenged the police by saying that under his law the carrying of firearms was banned.