Tuesday, September 13, 2011


A Japanese woman, a US businessman and two New Zealanders have died on Fiji in the past three months, although news coverage has been very sparse. Unfortunately, government censors tightly control news dissemination, presumably to not create the impression that Fiji has a rising crime problem.

COMMENT: Despite public announcements that the local government is committed to solving crimes against foreigners, arrests and convictions have been fleeting.

Family members, for example, continue to fund private efforts to determine what happened to American Don Nicholas, chief executive officer of a medical institute in Charlotte, North Carolina, who disappeared on July 15 while surfing off Natadola beach, near Nadi. They have even established a website, http://www.helpfindon.com and posted a reward of US$100,000 for information.

In New Zealand, relatives and friends are puzzled by the fate of Tony Groom, who died days after being severely beaten in Nadi on July 8. Fijian police later ruled that he had died of natural causes; no suspicious death investigation was ever conducted.

The first death was that of Chelsia Mary Lo, a 33-year-old Auckland woman who is believed to have fallen off the luxury yacht, Alani II, at the Blue Lagoon resort on June 13. No post mortem is known to have been conducted, and her family say her body was cremated before they were officially informed of her death.

Fiji has been under the control of military leader Voreqe Bainimarama since he seized power in a coup in 2006.

Travelers to Fiji: Be cautious and careful. If something happens to you, your family may never know the truth. Or, select a different destination.

To get honest advice regarding the criminal threat in Fiji, please go to http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/advice/fiji.

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