Methodist clergyman charged after Tongatapu motorbike crash victim hospitalised

    Police have arrested and charged a Methodist clergyman after his vehicle crashed into a motorbike during which the impact flung the victim in the air.

    A local newspaper has identified the evangelical pastor as Rev Peni Lālahi.   

    The 62-year-old pastor from Tofoa has been charged with reckless driving causing grievous bodily harm.

    ‘Amanaki Hokafonu, 30, of Houma, Tongatapu was heading southbound when he crashed into a black van doing a U-turn after leaving a carpark on Taufa’ahau Rd.

    Police reportedly said Hokafonu was in critical condition at Vaiola Hospital.

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    Photos of the victim, which appeared to have been taken at the hospital, had been shared by cousins and friends on social media.

    They appeared to show Hokafonu was in a stable condition.  

    A cousin of the victim told Kaniva news Hokafonua moved to New Zealand when he was a young man and lived there permanently until a few years ago when he moved back to Tonga.

    “Tongan police has denied social media reports it was a hit-and-run, saying the van’s driver parked off-screen and returned to help the injured man.”

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