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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 11, 2001

Honolulu men fined for sinking Jet Ski

By Walter Wright
Advertiser Staff Writer

Two Honolulu men have been fined $5,000 each for purposely disposing of a Jet Ski by cutting holes in it, putting rocks inside it and sinking it in Hawai'i Kai's Maunalua Bay in 1999, Attorney General Earl Anzai said yesterday.

"We charged them with water pollution," said Deputy Attorney General Colleen Chun, who handled the case.

"We are trying to protect the environment by becoming more aware of environmental violations and responding to them with prosecutions," said Chun, who works in the department's criminal justice division.

Defendants August Van Biene and Yuji Hattori pleaded guilty to a charge of negligent violation of the water pollution law, a misdemeanor, and the more serious felony charge of knowing violation was dropped.

They were sentenced Monday by First Circuit Court Judge Karen Ahn, who could have hit them with fines as high as $25,000.

The two men, who worked for Marine Sports Inc., one of the Jet Ski operators on the bay at the time, said their employer told them to dispose of the hull of the "golf-cart" style two-passenger Jet Ski by sinking it in the bay.

After receiving an anonymous tip, state investigators hired a sonar equipment operator to locate the ski. Investigators found three similar wrecks, and were able to trace one of them to Marine Sports. The company has since closed.

The state also charged the company's owner, a Japanese national named Kazuaki Kaji, with knowing violation of the pollution laws, punishable by a fine of up to $50,000, but Kaji has not been found, Chun said.

A bench warrant was issued for Kaji's arrest. Anyone knowing of Kaji's whereabouts — or of any other environmental crimes — should call state investigators at 586-1240, Chun said.