6 Jul 2004

Give resort robbers tough sentences, say Fiji hoteliers

10:50 am on 6 July 2004

The Fiji Hotel Association is calling for harsh deterrent sentences to those found guilty of robbery at hotels and resorts because they tarnish the image of the country and damage its biggest industry.

The Fiji Times reports that the call follows an incident in which six armed and masked men tied a chain to an automatic teller machine in a hotel foyer and ripped it off using a stolen four-wheel drive vehicle.

The incident happened at the Hideaway Resort on the Coral Coast near Sigatoka.

The Hotel Association chief executive, Olivia Pareti, says it took a long time after the political crisis of 2000 to promote Fiji as a safe tourist destination and such looting at resorts damages this reputation.

She is calling for harsher sentences and refusal of bail for hardened criminals