17 Aug 2004

Fiji police step up security ahead of bail hearing of vice-president

1:42 pm on 17 August 2004

Fiji's police commissioner says security is being increased ahead of tomorrow's hearing of the bail application of vice-president, Ratu Jope Seniloli.

Andrew Hughes says they're aware of plans for protests by supporters of Seniloli, who was recently jailed for four years for his attempts to become usurper president during the 2000 coup.

But the commissioner says media reports of planned riots are overstated.

Mr Hughes says security is being tightened around the Appeal Court and people will be screened.

"People will be questioned by police about who they are. They will be through a metal detector, the usual search procedures that are in place now, right around the world, to ensure that they're not carrying anything that they shouldn't be. And, we'll be closely monitoring the actual proceedings."

Mr Hughes says police intelligence shows that village chiefs in Seniloli's Tailevu province do not plan to support the extremists as they did during the 2000 coup.

Four others, jailed in connection with the coup, are also appearing in court tomorrow.