A Kauai judge found a Hanalei man guilty of robbery in the second degree, terroristic threatening in the first and second degree, and attempted extortion in the third degree Friday in the shakedown attempt of a Haena Beach lunch wagon worker.
The case arose out of an incident on October 13, 2011, in which 52-year-old William "Dukie" Kepia Puulei attempted to take food from a lunch wagon located at the dry cave area of Haena Beach Park.
Puulei threatened a lunch wagon worker, and then pulled out a knife and threatened a good Samaritan who came to her aide.
Testimony presented during the two-and-a-half day trial showed that Puulei, who is over 6-feet-tall, repeatedly shouted, "Do you want protection?" to the petite, 5-foot-tall lunch wagon worker while she continuously told him to put the items back.
Puulei also yelled to the victim saying, "I am the local protection," and, "Go back to Taiwan," as he lowered her lunch wagon windows during the incident.
Testimony was also heard from the good Samaritan, a Washington State firefighter who had been on vacation visiting the beach with his family when he came upon the incident taking place.
He told the court that when he came to the victim’s aide, Puulei brandished a knife from a sheath and told him, "This is not your business. Get back in your tourist car and leave my island. This is a local issue."
The firefighter was able to diffuse the situation and assisted the victim in calling 911 to report the incident.
Police responded and located Puulei about 1/10 mile away where they recovered the sheath and knife from him.
Judge Randal Valenciano stated that this case was a "shakedown" by Puulei on the lunch wagon worker and that the offer of protection was for him not to do anything to the victim in return for obtaining merchandise for free.