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Man dies after fight with Tongan cops

Saturday 17 Nov 2012 8:52 p.m.

Nuku'alofa, Tonga (file)

Nuku'alofa, Tonga (file)

Three months after the death of a New Zealand policeman while in the custody of Tongan police, two Tongan police officers have been charged over the death of another man.

In the early hours of yesterday a fight broke out between the two off-duty officers and a 21-year-old man at a party in Vaini, southeast of Nuku'alofa, Police Commissioner Grant O'Fee told Matangi Tonga Online.

The young man, who has not been named, was pronounced dead on arrival at Vaiola Hospital.

Mr O'Fee says four off-duty officers attended the party and an argument broke out between the young man and three of the officers before the alleged fight.

It did not appear a weapon had been used in the fight, he says.

The officers, both men in their 20s, are due to appear in Nuku'alofa Magistrates Court on Monday.

The arrests come three months after five Tongan police officers were charged with the manslaughter of New Zealand constable Kali Fungavaka, who was allegedly assaulted while in police custody.

A civilian who shared a cell with Const Fungavaka on the night he died has also been charged with manslaughter.

Mr O'Fee said in response to that incident: "This is not what we need at all and my only message to the public is that we would continue to treat police officers like anyone else.

"If police officers offend they are subject to the same law as everyone else."

NZN

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