20 Jul 2013

147 students arrested in Tonga after attack on rival pupils

5:07 am on 20 July 2013

Tonga Police say a deep seated rivalry between two schools that goes back decades, has escalated to extreme levels after two students were left hospitalised following an attack early Friday morning.

147 students from Tupou College in Nuku'alofa have been arrested after allegedly attacking two students from Tonga College - one is in a critical condition with a fractured skull.

The police commissioner Grant O'Fee says a large group of students went on mass and attacked a residential property where two pupils from the rival college were staying.

He says they are facing serious criminal charges.

"I mean there's not a piece of glass that has not been smashed. I'm advised that this is a rivalry that goes back maybe a hundred years. I've tried as much as I can to figure out just exactly what causes it and everyone seems to have a different opinion to be perfectly honest all I know is that they fight at the drop of a hat."

Grant O'Fee says they were warned about the potential of an incident early Thursday evening and sent personnel to both colleges, unaware that the students were heading to a residential address.

The students will be detained under police custody until Monday while police investigate.