Friday, January 29, 2016

Security guards indicted for taking bribes at Honolulu International Airport (PHNL)

Ford Fuchigami


HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -  An Oahu grand jury indicted four Securitas law enforcement and traffic control officers on Thursday for allegedly accepting bribes from taxi and shuttle driver at the Honolulu Airport.

The four Securitas employees were Ruben Corpuz Alonzo, Ranie Ilagan, Gay Gatchalian and Euriphides Magalang who are accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes from taxi and shuttle drivers. 

In exchange, they provided customers to the drivers and overlooked rule violations committed by taxi and shuttle drivers, the indictment said. If drivers did not pay the guards, the guards allegedly harassed them and drove away their customers.

"This was a flat out corruption case because it involved people who were taking bribes from taxi drivers and flaunting and violating the rules," said Attorney General Douglas Chin.

"That's something that's ultimately going to harm not only our Hawaii residents but the many tourist who come to Honolulu."

The charges come six months after Hawaii News Now first broke the story about the airport bribery investigation. Confidential FBI informants told us they wore wires and carried hidden video cameras for 18 months to document payoffs they made to several guards.

"I made payments, I took recordings, took video ... I made a lot of payments," said one of the informants, who went by the nickname "Lou."

Hawaii News Now talked to several cab drivers who said they've complained about the problem for years. And they say the state had done little about it.



Taxi drivers said they wrote dozens of letters to the DOT about the kickback scheme with no results. 

They even met with then Airports Director Ford Fuchigami back in 2013 to complain. He now heads the DOT.

Some say they faced retaliation for speaking out.

The DOT denied the allegations that it ignored the problem, saying it's not only cooperating with authorities but helped initiate the investigation. It issued this statement today:

"As much as we would like to respond to false accusations against us, we are unable to comment on legal or personnel matters," said DOT spokesman Tim Sakahara.

If convicted the Securitas guards face up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Story, video, photo gallery: http://www.fox10tv.com



A private company hired by the state to provide security at Hawaii airports, is coming under fire.

This after four Securitas officers were indicted for allegedly accepting bribes at the Honolulu International Airport.

A months long, undercover investigation by the FBI and agents from the attorneys general office has resulted in the indictment of four Securitas law enforcement and traffic control officers.

The Securitas employees are accused of a bribery scheme at the Honolulu Airport.

The attorney general’s office says they solicited and accepted more than $3,000 from taxi and shuttle drivers at the airport.

After receiving the bribes, officials say the Securitas officers allowed some drivers to circumvent the rules.

Authorities say what tipped them off were other taxi drivers complaining about favoritism for those willing to pay.

HGEA says the use of private companies isn’t necessarily better nor does it always save taxpayer money.

They went on to say they believes security at all state airports should be handled by the Sheriffs Division of the Department of Public Safety.

KHON2 learned that the state recently awarded Securitas a three year, $130 million contract for security at all Hawaii airports.
 
Story, video and comments:  http://khon2.com

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