19 Mar 2012

Reflective silence in Tonga on news of King's death

1:02 pm on 19 March 2012

Reports from Tonga say there is a sombre atmosphere in the country as people digest the news of the death of King George Tupou V.

The King died in Hong Kong yesterday, with his brother and successor, Tupouto'a Lavaka, at his bedside

Tonga's Deputy opposition leader Dr Sitiveni Halapua says it was public knowledge the King was receiving treatment in the United States for cancer but there was shock at the unexpected announcement broadcast officially this morning.

"People are still lingering around and going about their daily business but with some kind of a reflective silence. People are very quiet because this news came as a great surprise at this time of the year and the time of his rule as king of the kingdom."