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Tongatapu girl’s abduction attempt a fake, say police

The alleged attempted abduction of a Ngele’ia girl has proven to be false, with police ceasing their investigation into the 13-year-old’s claim.

Police were told a man had chased the Ngele’ia Primary Schools student while she was on her way to school on Tuesday morning February 28.

Police Commissioner Shane McLennan

“After conducting house-to-house inquiries and follow-up interviews with the young girl, her family and school authorities, it was revealed that the complaint was false”, Police Commissioner Shane McLennan said.

Mr McLennan said the young girl was deeply remorseful for what she had put everyone through.

“That morning, among other personal and family issues, she was particularly anxious about being late to school and it did not help that she had to walk, rather than being dropped off.

“Nevertheless, Police will continue to work together with her family and the relevant school authority to reassure the young girl of her safety and welfare, to avoid further problems.

“This incident, though false, is an opportune time to remind teachers, parents, and guardians, of their crucial responsibility once again with respect to the safety and wellbeing of our young children. We urge them to continue to monitor and report to Police as soon as possible, anything suspicious that would likely place our children’s lives and safety at risk. In this regard, we wish to acknowledge the school authority in this matter who made a timely referral to the Police.

Commissioner Shane McLennan also said: “Tonga Police would rather receive early advice of a suspected complaint or suspicious behaviour, even if it later turns out to be false or misleading. Our job is to protect the public, especially our most vulnerable citizens like our children, and I’d rather our resources be called upon early, than have members of the public wait until they are more certain of the circumstances; by then, crucial evidence may be lost.”

“We are grateful to the young girl involved in this incident, for having the courage to speak up and tell the truth. Life is a journey of ups and downs, and we can always learn from our mistakes.”

Tonga Police again provides the following safety measures proposed for schools and parents to always keep in mind:

1. Remind children NOT TO TALK TO STRANGERS and not to accept anything offered by anyone other than their parents, family members, or teacher.

2. Pick up your child on time and share a list of those that can pick up your child with the school.

3. Parents should provide lunches to prevent children from leaving the school compound.

4. School gates to be locked during school hours.

5. Have a designated location, that can be easily monitored, for drop off and pick up.

6. A teacher should accompany students while waiting for pick-up at the end of school.

7. Monitor the child and take note of any sudden change in their behaviour and take time to find out why. Any out-of-character behaviour should not be ignored.

8. Alert Police should you or the child feel unsafe.

If you have any information to share with Police in relation to this issue, please contact us on 922 or 740-1625.