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Saturday, May 25, 2024
May 25, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:00 PM :: 2800 Views

HB2404 Tax Cut 'the biggest news of the season'

Bills that will ‘truly help the people of Hawaii’

313 Candidates Pull Papers Statewide

UHPA: Legislators' Retaliation Games Endanger UH Outside Funding

DoH Awards Ambulance Contract for Maui, Kauai

Former CIA Officer Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Espionage

Two Chinese Spies Operating Inside Honolulu CIA, FBI for Years

AP: A former CIA officer and contract linguist for the FBI accused of spying for China for at least a decade pleaded guilty Friday in a federal courtroom in Honolulu.

Alexander Yuk Ching Ma, 72, has been in custody since his arrest in August 2020. The U.S. Justice Department said in a court filing it amassed “a war chest of damning evidence” against him, including an hourlong video of Ma and an older relative — also a former CIA officer — providing classified information to intelligence officers with China’s Ministry of State Security in 2001.

The video shows Ma counting the $50,000 received from the Chinese agents for his service, prosecutors said.

During a sting operation, he accepted thousands of dollars in cash in exchange for past espionage activities, and he told an undercover FBI agent posing as a Chinese intelligence officer that he wanted to see the “motherland” succeed, prosecutors said….

Ma was born in Hong Kong, moved to Honolulu in 1968 and became a U.S. citizen in 1975. He joined the CIA in 1982, was assigned overseas the following year, and resigned in 1989. He held a top secret security clearance, according to court documents.

Ma lived and worked in Shanghai, China, before returning to Hawaii in 2001. He was hired as a contract linguist in the FBI’s Honolulu field office in 2004, and prosecutors say that over the following six years, he regularly copied, photographed and stole classified documents. He often took them on trips to China, returning with thousands of dollars in cash and expensive gifts, such as a new set of golf clubs, prosecutors said….

In court Friday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Sorenson revealed that Ma’s hiring as a part-time contract linguist was a “ruse” to monitor his contact with Chinese intelligence officers….

In 2006, while Ma was living in Hawaii, Chinese intelligence officers sent him photos of people they were interested in, Sorenson said, and Ma contacted the co-conspirator relative and convinced him to reveal at least two of the identities….

SA: Ex-CIA agent to serve 10 years in prison if plea accepted

2020: Former CIA agent arrested in Honolulu, charged with helping China spy on US

read … Ex-CIA officer accused of spying for China expected to plead guilty

Hawaiian Electric Counter-Sues Maui County Over Fire

BL: … Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. says it isn’t legally responsible for the devastating fire last year that razed the historic town of Lahaina — it was Maui County’s fault.

The embattled utility alleged in a counter-suit Friday in Hawaii state court that the local government caused the catastrophe by neglecting overgrown vegetation, failing to properly plan for an emergency and “by fumbling the emergency response” to the Aug. 8 blaze …. 

HNN: HECO files counterclaim, alleging Maui County is at fault for Lahaina wildfire disaster

SA: Hawaiian Electric filing blames Maui County

CB: Hawaiian Electric Co. Says It's Maui County's Fault Fire Destroyed Much Of Lahaina

read … Hawaiian Electric Strikes Out at Maui County Over Blame for Fire - Bloomberg

Hawaii Island psychologist who sexually assaulted young patient handed hefty prison sentence

HNN: … A Hawaii Island child psychologist who admitted to sexually assaulting a teen patient and is under investigation in other cases was sentenced Friday to 20 years behind bars — double what prosecutors had sought under a plea deal.

Reuben Lelah pleaded guilty to to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old patient.

A judge Friday sentenced Lelah to two, 10-year sentences — to be served back to back.

Hawaii Island prosecutors had asked for 10 years while Lelah’s attorney asked for probation…

Judge Kimberly B. Tsuchiya wasn’t buying Lelah’s apology, noting the psychologist claimed in his statements to authorities that he was in a “trance” and that the victim “initiated the contact.”

“This is such a deep and severe breach of trust that will have long-lasting effects for this child and those in his orbit,” the judge said. “This child was in need of help, was in need of treatment. He came to you vulnerable and essentially, you took advantage of that vulnerability.”…

SA: Hawaii island psychologist sentenced for assaulting teen patient

HTH: Kona psychologist gets 20 years for sexually assaulting a minor

read … Hawaii Island psychologist who sexually assaulted young patient handed hefty prison sentence (hawaiinewsnow.com)

Ethics Commission Resolves Charge Against Former State Board Member

State Ethics Commission enters into settlement agreement with Allison Wong Daniel, former commissioner of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

News Release 2024-4: https://ethics.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/NR2024-4.pdf

Resolution of Charge 2024-2:  https://files.hawaii.gov/ethics/advice/ROC2024-02.pdf

Lahaina Fire News:

Legislative Agenda:

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