27 Aug 2003

Fiji close to arrests over the murders of four Chinese

3:58 pm on 27 August 2003

Police in Fiji say they have narrowed their search for those responsible for the killing of four men five days ago to a group of three Suva-based Chinese nationals and hope to lay charges within days.

The police public relations officer Mesake Koroi says they are speaking to three Chinese businessmen, one of whom was brought in for questioning today following the search of a property in Samabula.

Mr Koroi says the police believe the killings resulted from a failed deal involving the lucrative shark's fin trade.

"There's quite a lot of Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Chinese and Korean fishing vessels that ply Fiji waters and they bring in quite a lot of shark fins which are sold to these people and they re-export them to China and Hong Kong at very lucrative prices indeed. In this particular case, I believe there were two tonnes of shark fins that were to have been transported on Friday - they were killed on Thursday."

Mesake Koroi of Fiji police.