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District Court hears charges against overstayers and PPDs

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Immigration confirmed to the court last week that James Aru's ID expired Sept. 24, 2016. And because of his illegal immigration status, Aru, 47, is remanded back to custody at TCF without bail.

Aru, a citizen of Vanuatu, is charged with private peace disturbance and third degree assault (domestic violence) for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend at their Fagatogo rental unit this past Monday.

His case has been transferred to the Family, Drug and Alcohol (FDA) court and his pretrial conference is set for Mar. 25

Samoa News understands that Aru's original sponsor passed away. However, a transfer of sponsorship was approved but his immigration status was never updated.


Immigration has been ordered to locate Valentino Sam Chong's passport and get the ball rolling on getting his travel documents squared away.

According to what the court was told last week, Sam Chong's sponsor passed away in 2017 and the deceased's family members have the defendant's passport. (Without travel documents, Sam Chong is not able to travel).

Sam Chong's case has been continued to Mar. 1 and because he is here illegally, he is remanded to custody at the TCF without bail.

Judge Elvis P. Patea said the local Samoa Consulate Office may have the answer on how to get Sam Chong's paperwork started.

Sam Chong is charged with private peace disturbance and his case has been dragging, due to multiple factors including immigration status, and confirming his identity.


Even though he agreed to plead guilty this past week to escape, a continuance has been ordered in the government's case against Tietie Sanele.

The court was informed that Sanele was scheduled to depart the territory on Friday but Judge Elvis P. Patea ordered a continuance, noting that there is a pending case against Sanele in FDA court, and he doesn't want the defendant to depart when there is a pending domestic violence matter against him.


The government's case against Sangster Loia is set for a jury trial on Apr. 11

Loia is charged with public peace disturbance, third degree assault, and resisting arrest for an incident that occurred last month in Tafuna, where Loia is alleged to have been armed with a 4ft metal paddle while walking in Nuuuli with several NVTHS students following a fight near Lions Park.

Loia is alleged to have refused to give up the paddle after cops asked for it, and the government claims that Loia and a cop got into a scuffle that resulted in both men being on the ground.

Loia is out on a $500 bond