Organ trade stories not true – Qiliho

Commissioner of Police Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho. Picture: FT FILE

POLICE have dismissed the abduction claims of a young Lautoka boy, saying the 13-year-old admitted to falsifying information given to police because of personal reasons.

The boy’s parents, however, say they stand by the statement made by their son.

Ana Vatutila said her son was not one to make up stories.

Police Commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho yesterday expressed concern at how news of the incident had gone viral on social media and caused nationwide panic.

He was especially concerned that the public reaction had stemmed from “stories shared within the hospital corridors”.

He said the social media posts based on rumour- mongering had also resulted in the unwarranted attack on the Chinese community.

Brig-Gen Qiliho said a health official who had allegedly posted and shared information about the incident was taken in for questioning by the Lautoka police, as his post had allegedly caused fear to members of the public and certain community groups.

Brig-Gen Qiliho said allegations that a group was operating in Fiji as organ traffickers were simply not true.

“This latest incident is an example of how damaging social media can be when posts are based on rumours rather than facts,” he said.

“We would fail in our duty if we had information of this happening and we did not inform the public of the need to be vigilant of such illegal activities.”

Meanwhile, Ms Vatutila claimed she and her husband were told to “wait outside” while police questioned her son again on Wednesday night.

“They questioned him on his own and when they released him to us, they did not tell us anything about the claims being false,” she claimed.

“They told us not to ask him anything about what transpired when they questioned him on his own.”

She claimed her son has refused to divulge what transpired when he met the police on his own.

Brig-Gen Qiliho said police had counselled the child in the presence of his parents and spoke to him at length about the consequences of his actions and the parents urged to be understanding of their child’s need to lie.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said children must have a parent or a welfare officer or a guardian present when questioned by police.

“Police cannot bend the rules, they must follow the law,” she said.

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