13 betel nut sellers arrested
By Mike Puia
THIRTEEN betel nut vendors were arrested and in custody as Honiara City Council (HCC) enforce tough measure against those illegally selling betel nut on the street as of yesterday.
The vendors were arrested during a Joint Operation by the Honiara City Council Legal Officer, Law Enforcement and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) at Central market, and along the street from HCC to ITA area.
City Clerk Rence Sore said the operation is part of their clean-up campaign and will continue for an unspecified period of time.
He said charges would be laid against four males and nine females who are expected to face the court today.
“These “illegal vendors” are in police custody and charges will be laid against them.
Sore was unable to provide information about the level of fine betel nut sellers who are arrested would pay and what charges they would face.
According to HCC Market Ordinance if anyone found guilty they face a maximum of $1000 fine or three months imprisonment or both.
Sore in his earlier statement said that they have approved amendments to their ordinances and regulations to impose higher penalties on those illegally selling betel nut on the street.
He said HCC will not only targeting betel nut sellers but also those selling other items illegally on the street.
The move has gained praised from members of the public. But, some urged HCC and the police to be consistent and fair when carrying out the operation.
A social media commentator said he heard of such operation in the past but there was no complete solution was achieved.
He said he hope this joint operation will not be a repeat of what had happen in the past as he wanted to see betel nut vendors cleared off Honiara streets completely.
He added these vendors need to be given tough legal consequences for helping to make the city filthy.