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A MAN is nursing a swollen mouth after a Honiara City Council law enforcement officer allegedly assaulted him in Chinatown, Wednesday.
Enoch Ledi told the Solomon Star the officer hit him on the mouth when he advised a woman selling betel nut in front of Solo Store that she’s breaking the law.
“Apparently the woman turned out to be the wife of the officer,” Mr Ledi said.
“I believe I did the right thing by letting her know that she was breaking city council law by selling betel nut in front of someone else’s shop,” he added.
“This law enforcement officer was also there at that time. He turned and punched me on the mouth.
“I got a bleeding mouth and it is still swollen,” he said.
Mr Ledi said he was surprised at the behaviour of the law enforcement officer.
“I and others used to sell betel nut in front of Solo store. But since the council’s seven-metre by-law came into force in February, the shop owner told us to leave.
“Also, we left because the law enforcement officers came and told us to leave the area.
“So when I saw this woman selling betel nut in that same spot on Wednesday, I approached her and told her about the seven-metre by-law.
“Surprisingly, the law enforcement officer who was supposed to keep the law turned around and attacked me.
“He even proudly declared that the law only applies to the public, not law enforcement officers.
“Is this officer and his wife above the law?”
He urged the mayor and the city clerk to take action against the officer.
City clerk Charles Kelly when told of the incident said the seven-metre by-law applies to everyone.
“City council workers, including law enforcement officers, are not exempted under the law,” Mr Kelly said.
He said his office will investigate the allegation because it is a serious matter.
The council’s head of Law Enforcement Division RobertMadeocould not answer his phone when contacted.
The council’s media office Adiba Alu also clarified now one is exempted under the seven-metre by-law.
“This seven-metre bylaw applies to everyone,” Mr Alu said.
“If this incident is true, then that officer is lying and he might try to make way for his wife to sell in that area.
“The council will definitely investigation the incident,” he added.
The seven-metre by-law requires each business house to take responsibility for the cleanliness of its premises seven metres from the facility.
Those found failing to uphold the by-law are liable to a $10,000 fine.
By DENVER NEWTER