11 May 2007

A group who owes money on Niue being treated fairly

10:23 am on 11 May 2007

Niue's Minister for Immigration Fisa Pihigia says the three people who were prevented from leaving the island because they had accumulated a 350,000-dollar debt are still on the island but moving around freely.

The three who had been linked to a California cult and virtually placed under house arrest had their passports taken away while one was ordered to leave Niue this week.

However, Mr Pihigia says the group has paid 250-thousand dollars of their debt with 100-thousand dollar still outstanding.

He says they've also considered the safety of the visitors and that a court order issued to place them in prison won't be activated.

"Looking at these people maybe one or two of them may harm themselves if they are put into custody it's best to Niue we dont' want to be known as cause of some tragedies because of these people being put in prison."

Mr Pihgia says a letter ordering one of the group to leave the island has been withdrawn following a request from Hong Kong from the person responsible for the group to the Premier.