6 arrested for trespassing as authorities seek to evict paramilitary group
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Six people were arrested for trespassing Friday amid a bitter dispute between a Kunia landowner and members of the paramilitary “Occupied Forces Hawaii Army” group.
Attorneys for the landowner said the sovereignty group’s members have been squatting on agricultural land near the Hawaii Country Club since September. Earlier this month, the group was served with eviction papers.
“This isn’t a native Hawaiian group seeking sovereignty or anything for an indigenous cause. These are wayward, rogue, uneducated individuals,” said Tom Berg, who manages the property and the nearby Hawaii County Club golf course.
On Friday morning, dozens of Honolulu police officers and state deputy sheriffs converged on the area and told the group’s members they would need to leave immediately.
Four men and two women were arrested on second-degree trespassing charges.
About a dozen people, mostly women and children, voluntarily left the property.
Members of Occupied Forces Hawaii identify themselves as a Hawaiian sovereignty group, dress in military outfits and claim military titles. The landowner said some of the families have been squatting on the property for nine months but at least two of the members claim they have ancestral rights to the land.
“This land belong to my people. America stole this land. That doesn’t make it theirs. It does not make it theirs,” said one of the women as she confronted police.
But investigative reporter and blogger Ian Lind said the group’s claims have little merit.
“They haven’t put forward any legitimate claim,” Lind said.
“They have claimed to have a ownership interest in the property by heirdom, meaning simply that they can they say at least two people can trace their family lineage back to the original holder of a land patent.”
If anyone can go and simply say: ‘I’m related to the guy in 1848, he was my great-great-great-great grandfather and so I own your house, get out!’ That is a is a frontal assault on everything that our society rests on.”
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