A Tongan businessman who was detained and searched by police who suspected he was carrying illicit drugs in his luggage from the United States said his business and family were never affected after the incident.
Despite a three hour search Police failed to find any drugs in ‘Efitoni Ikahihifo’s luggage.
Ikahihifo of Kolomotu’a operated several businesses in Tonga including a retail shop and a stall at fair market where he sold a number of items including cologne.
Ikahihifo told Kaniva News when he, a sister and their mother arrived at the Custom and Quarantine booth at the Fua’amotu airport a Police officer met him and asked whether he was ‘Efitoni Ikahihifo. After he agreed, he was asked to follow the officer.
They went into a room where a female Police officer was waiting.
Ikahihifo said he was told he was being arrested because of a report from the United States that he was smuggling marijuana into the country.
The officers then searched his luggage and a sniffer dog was brought in as part of the search, but they did not find any marijuana.
After the search was completed the Police asked Ikahihifo if there was anything he wanted to say.
Ikahihifo said he asked the officers to tell him who made the complaint but he was told they were not allowed to release that information.
He described the way how he and his family were searched as “protracted and unprofessional.”
Police had been contacted for comment.
The Ikahihifos left San Francisco international airport on May 16 before arriving in New Zealand on May 18. They spent about a three-hour layover at the Auckland International airport before leaving for Tonga the same day.
Ikahihifo said they were travelling to spend the Tongan Father’s Day with their father.
Ikahihifo’s arrest came a week after Police arrested a 59-year-old man with 1.9 kg of methamphetamine at Fua’amotu Airport on May 8.
The meth had a street value of about $2 million pa’anga.