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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 10, 2009

Stabbing meant as payback, police say

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Hine Laloulu

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As a 32-year-old man was being stabbed during an attack in Chinatown last week, one of his assailants shouted, "This is for Soulja," referring to a man who had been gunned down in the same area a week earlier.

The statement, contained in a police affidavit filed yesterday in District Court, was the first public acknowledgement by police that the April 3 stabbing incident was in retaliation for the March 28 shooting death of Joseph Peneueta.

The suspect in the April 3 stabbing, Hine Laloulu, 22, was charged yesterday with second-degree attempted murder.

Peneueta, whose street name was "Soulja," had been shot to death six days earlier by two men near the intersection of River and Pauahi streets in Chinatown.

Police have said the two incidents are related and involved a struggle between rival organized crime groups from Hawai'i and San Francisco over the distribution of drugs. But until yesterday, police did not provide a motive for the stabbing.

The stabbing victim was identified in the affidavit as Antonius Toloai, who is a co-defendant with Iosefa Pasene in a separate drug case.

Pasene is charged with Zorro Rye in the murder of Peneueta. City deputy prosecutor Sean Sanada has said Pasene and Rye are from San Francisco.

Toloai told police that he and several friends were drinking near a bus stop on River Street about 1:35 p.m. April 3 when a group of males approached them. Toloai said he knows one of the men as "Tiny," identified in the affidavit as Laloulu.

Toloai said he "attempted to greet" Laloulu, but before he could, the males started to punch and kick him, the affidavit said. A woman with Toloai escaped, but a second woman was caught and beaten by the men, the affidavit said.

After Toloai was knocked to his knees, he said he thought that the man he knew as Tiny was punching him in the stomach. But he later saw that Tiny was holding a 3 1/2-inch knife and was repeatedly striking Toloai in the stomach with the knife, the affidavit said.

As the assault began, one of the men shouted, "KPT, SOS, This is for Soulja," the affidavit said. The man also made reference to Peneueta, according to the affidavit.

Toloai was taken to The Queen's Medical Center for treatment of five wounds to his stomach and another to his chin, the affidavit said. Following emergency surgery, Toloai told police that "Tiny" was the person who stabbed him.

Laloulu turned himself in to police Tuesday afternoon. His bail was set at $500,000 yesterday and he is scheduled to make his initial appearance in District Court on Monday.

Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa said Monday that the recent escalation in violence in Chinatown is the result of a turf war between organized crime groups in Hawai'i and San Francisco. The groups are fighting over the distribution of drugs, primarily cocaine, the chief said.

But Correa stopped short of saying that the Toloai stabbing was payback for the Peneueta killing. Correa said HPD has beefed up patrol and undercover activities in Chinatown to discourage further violence.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com.