Arrest made in pier assault

LIHUE — A Kapaa man was arrested in connection with an attack that occurred near the Hanalei Pier May 30.

Iona Keola Loi, 20, was arrested Thursday on two counts of third-degree assault and one count of harassment. He posted bail and was released pending a court appearance, which has not yet been scheduled.

The arrest came 40 days after a group of around 20 men allegedly harassed a group of 22 visiting eighth-grade students and their teacher chaperones, who described the situation as a mob scene.

Suspects fled before police arrived.

“There were witnesses that had come forward,” Kauai Police Department spokeswoman Sarah Blane said Monday, adding that their investigation included working with a California police department so that victims could view a photo line-up.

The incident sparked outrage from the community and led Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. to personally call one of the victims to apologize. Around three weeks later, another altercation was reported at the pier.

Two males were arrested for disorderly conduct and harassment in the unrelated June 16 incident at the pier, according to police.

Witnesses described the two as yelling, cursing and threatening beachgoers during the evening hours.

One Hanalei business owner told The Garden Island at the time he planned to reach out to other business owners to fund a private security guard to monitor nighttime activity at the pier because behavior there seemed too unsettling.

Loi, who didn’t respond to a message from The Garden Island Monday, is the only suspect believed to have been involved in the May assault, although others may have been involved in the incident, police said. No other suspects have been identified at this time.

Victims of the assault included a 14-year-old male teen and three adult chaperones who were part of a youth group visiting Kauai from California.

The teen and two male chaperones told police they were punched during the altercation; and a female chaperone was spat on when she attempted to intervene.

Tim Corcoran, Julie Boettler, and John Bock, reported victims in the attack, couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

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