As tensions rise, country club’s landowner seeks to evict paramilitary sovereignty group

An already bitter eviction dispute between a Kunia landowner and a Hawaiian sovereignty group is starting to heat up.
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 9:11 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 13, 2022 at 9:13 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An already bitter eviction dispute between a Kunia landowner and a Hawaiian sovereignty group is starting to heat up.

Escorted by two Honolulu police officers, representatives for Guyland — which owns the Hawaii Country Club golf course and nearby agricultural lands — served eviction papers on members of the Occupied Forces Hawaii Army on Monday after a judge last week ordered them off the land.

The landowner’s lawyer said some of the group’s members have been squatting on the owner’s agricultural property for nine months.

“I don’t see these guys at all as being, you know, the traditional Hawaiian rights activist. They’re very different,” said attorney Fred Arensmeyer.

“It seems like this group has adopted ... the playbook from the mainland sovereign citizen people. And you know, that’s a group that’s been identified by the federal government as a domestic terrorist organization.”

The group known as Occupied Forces Hawaii, whose members dress in military outfits and have military titles, doesn’t believe in modern land titles because they believe Hawaii is under U.S. occupation.

Two of the members have also said they have ancestral rights to the land.

“I am a descendant and one of the many heirs of the supreme title holder,” wrote Moanakane’okauleleaiwi’ikamokukieki’e Mokiao in court papers seeking to halt the eviction proceedings.

Said Arensmeyer: “That’s no different than saying, you know, I own my deceased great-grandfather’s house back in Montana, which was sold off many years ago to someone else.”

The interactions between the landowner and the group have been tense in the past.

In October, golf course manager and former Honolulu City Councilman Tom Berg was tackled and held by a member of the group when he tried to cut the chains to a fence blocking access to the course.

“They tried to ‘citizen’s arrest him’ and held him to the ground for about 20 minutes,” said Arensmeyer.

The group at the time had spread out to the golf course.

Members first began occupying a five-acre parcel there back in September. Since then, their ranks have grown to about a dozen people and the landowner said they now occupy more than 30 acres.

Occupied Forces Hawaii said Berg has been the aggressor.

They have applied for restraining orders against him, saying he threatened them with a gun. Berg said it was an airgun. State judges dismissed the TROs. The eviction notices were also filed with the state Sheriff’s Office, which is responsible for removing the occupants.

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