3 Feb 2014

Self-styled king in French Polynesia in jail after multiple charges

8:18 am on 3 February 2014

The self-styled king of French Polynesia's Pakumotu republic has been transferred to Tahiti's jail after being remanded on charges that could see him imprisoned for life.

After two days of questioning, Athanase Teiri has been charged with complicity to try to murder a police officer, armed rebellion, forming a militia and distributing illegal money.

This follows an incident last week when two of his supporters fired shots at police officers arriving at his compound.

Nobody was injured but the self-styled king and four of his supporters were arrested.

Last month, Athanase Teiri was given a six-month jail sentence for sending threatening letters to top officials, including the public prosecutor and the head of the institute in charge of issuing the Pacific franc.

His Pakumotu group refuses to recognise France and last year began circulating its own money, the patu, which it had printed in huge quantities.

One woman was given a two-month jail sentence in December for trying to pay for petrol with a 100 patu note.