24 Aug 2012

Inquiry underway into death of New Zealand officer in Tonga police cell

7:15 am on 24 August 2012

Tonga police say a New Zealand police officer, who was assaulted while in a police cell last Saturday, died last evening at Vaiola Hospital in Nuku'alofa.

Kali Fungavaka, who had been in Tonga attending the funeral of his grandfather, was arrested on a minor drunkenness offence late last Friday and placed in cells at the central police station in Nuku'alofa.

Don Wiseman has more:

"Kali Fangavaka was set upon by another prisoner in the cells and taken to Vaiola Hospital where he underwent surgery for a head injury. The assistant commissioner, 'Unga Fa'aoa, says Mr Fungavaka, who had been in the hospital's intensive care unit, died last evening. Members of his family are thought to have flown in from New Zealand yesterday. Mr Fungavaka, who is a recipient of the New Zealand Bravery Medal, joined the New Zealand Police in 2006. Police announced yesterday that an inquiry is underway with the arrest of the prisoner who allegedly committed the assault while two Tongan Police staff have also been arrested for an earlier attack on Mr Fungavaka."