Police deny organised crime in CNMI despite latest murder
Police deny organised crime problem in CNMI despite latest murder
The Northern Marianas police are denying there is a major problem with drug-related organised crime in the islands despite another murder of a Chinese national.
The police say they hope to make an arrest soon in relation to the death of a Chinese farmer who was found bludgeoned outside his house last weekend.
Jo O'Brien has more
RNZ International correspondent Mark Rabago says the murder of 59 year-old Li Qian Ding is the latest in a string of crimes involving Chinese nationals.
MARK RABAGO: In November 2014, Chinese farmers Hai Ren Li and Cheng You Li were murdered and dumped near the old airport runway, and in February 2014 Guo Huang Xu and his wife Qing Xiu Zheng, both also farmers, their bodies were found charred after their house was set on fire. And two years before that, businessman Jun Li Yang and Jing Liu, the wife were found murdered, execution style inside their house.
Mark Rabago says there has also been a series of missing persons cases involving Chinese and Japanese nationals.
Northern Marianas Police Public Information Officer Jason Tarkong says there are similarities in a number of the cases.
JASON TARKONG: About four or five of those victims are of a certain Chinese community called the Fujians, it's an area in China where they are from, and the majority of them are farmers. And usually we believe it's probably Chinese gang-related and a lot of these farmers are used as fronts for drug distribution and particularly the drug is methamphetamine.
Mark Rabago says speculation has been rife about the crimes for years.
MARK RABAGO: It could either be a loan that wasn't paid off, it could be involving drugs, involving Chinese triads. That's probably one of the reasons nobody wants to talk, they don't want retribution from those who perpetrated this.
But Jason Tarkong says if there is any organised crime the groups involved are small, and he denies there is a wider problem with triads in the Northern Marianas.
JASON TARKONG In any state or village or island such as us the majority of the crimes occurred because of meth addicts breaking into houses and then stealing, or some people who are involved in drugs in order to feed their habit they end up committing crimes. And it starts with simply burglary and in some cases in the higher end it does involve murder.
No one has been charged with the earlier crimes.
Officer Tarkong says it has been hard to hold anyone to account as the Fujians community is very tight-knit.
JASON TARKONG: The Chinese community cases, especially in these particular cases involving the Fujians, or these farmers, most of them are farmers, they are difficult to crack.
Mark Rabago says language has also been a barrier for police investigating cases involving the Chinese community.
In a statement to RNZ International, the Chinese Association of Saipan has expressed deep sorrow and horror at the latest homicide, and other crimes to hit the Chinese community.
The Association which represents a community of about 2000 Chinese in the CNMI, says it hopes the islands can be peaceful and harmonious.
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