30 Jan 2014

Self-styled Tahiti king arrested amid alleged rebellion

4:12 pm on 30 January 2014

Police in French Polynesia have arrested the king of the self-styled Pakumotu republic, Athanase Teiri, after officers were being shot at from within the group's compound in Tahiti.

The Pakumotu group has defied the French state for years and last week, Athanase Teiri was given a six-month jail sentence for threatening top officials in his quest to replace the Pacific francs with his Pakumotu currency, the patu.

When police moved to arrest him today, shots were fired but there were no injuries.

Police arrested five people and seized three firearms.

The five are being held at the Papeete police station for attempted murder of a policeman, armed rebellion, forming of a militia and illegal possession of a weapon.

The crimes can be punished with life imprisonment.

In 2012, Teiri was given a suspended prison sentence for producing illegal identity cards.

Last month, a woman belonging to his group was given a two-month jail sentence for trying to pay for petrol with a 100 patu note.