Theft, organised crime and the need to protect ourselves from criminals

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

The story titled “Thieves steal $15,000 worth of red palms” published on page 2 of yesterday’s Samoa Observer is dreadful. Not only are the actions of the culprit or culprits downright shocking, the idea that they have robbed a hard-working woman—not once but twice—tells a sad story. 

It is that some people living among us today have become so heartless, and ruthless in committing crime—they simply don’t care who they hurt. Which is the story of Samoa today when it comes to the issue of theft, isn’t it? 

We say this with the utmost respect because this kind of behaviour has become far too prevalent. Not only do we hear about it, we see men and women being dragged before Court every day for it. It’s almost like stealing has become the norm for some people. 

How did we arrive at this point? What happened to Samoa being a Christian country? Where is the respect, love and the care for one another?

Here’s the thing, Plant Nursery Owner, Amy Chan Mow, is a hard-working woman—just like many Samoans out there, determined to make this country a better place to live. No one has the right to rob her of what is rightfully hers. 

If anybody envies others’ success, they should knuckle down, get sweaty and dirty, and work for it, just as hard as Ms. Chan Mow has done. 

But some people want things quickly and instantly. What’s worse is that they resort to petty crime to get it. Which is exactly what has happened in Ms. Chan Mow’s case.

 “On November 28 when I went to the back of our house, most of my red palms, they were about 10 feet in height, and they were stolen,” she told us yesterday. “One patch only three were left, and on another one only four left. So we had to fix our fence and put up a light at the back.”

And just when she thought the worst was over, the thieves had other ideas.

“On Wednesday last week they came back again. I thought they were never going to come back, but now they still come, which really upsets me,” Ms. Chan Mow said.

The plants by the way are worth $15,000; that is a lot of money. 

Come to think of it, whoever took Ms. Chan Mow’s plants, they cannot be just any ordinary thief or thieves. They would have had to know the worth of the plants and the market for them. Which means these plants will soon find their way to an interested buyer. 

This is what’s scary about this incident; it’s the idea that in Samoa it appears that organised crime has well and truly set foot in our community. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the people who stole from Ms. Chan Mow are not hungry, they have ulterior motives, and it has money written all over it. Interestingly enough, one of those plants can be sold for as high as $1,000. That’s big money.

Now listen to Ms. Chan Mow’s plight once more: “I want to tell the public that I am a woman farmer and it really makes me mad that these men come and steal from me because I work hard—every day I’m outside the garden and this is my bread and butter. 

“Stealing is not good, especially at these times if you are resorting to stealing to buy food and gifts for your children, because you are reaping away the hard work of other people.”

We couldn’t agree more with Ms. Chan Mow. 

Let us remind people who have made a living from stealing, that while they think they might have gotten away with robbing someone or some people, our Christian beliefs tell us that they are piling curses on themselves and their families. It might not surface overnight but it eventually does. 

Who wants that? That said, we believe the alarming rise in the incidents of theft is heart-breaking. In a country where we pride ourselves on our cultural and religious values, it’s a crying shame.

The question is: have we slipped so low, to the point that stealing has become an accepted part of life? Have we become so immune to the stories of stealing we are told from left, right and centre every day that we no longer care? And are we to just ignore the rise of what clearly appears to be organised crime and pretend that all is well in paradise?

We don’t think so. We need to rise up and do something. We need to start talking about this, and sharing these stories like Ms. Chan Mow has. It is when we acknowledge we have got a problem, when a solution could be found. 

But while we are waiting for that, let this also be a good reminder to everyone to take extra care in protecting personal belongings and properties—as we indulge in the festive season. It is undeniable that criminals are on the look out to strike, when innocent and unsuspecting members of the public are vulnerable – which often happens at this time of the year. 

Let’s not allow them. Let’s look out for these criminals and report them to the Police so they are locked away, where they truly belong. 

Have a fantastic Friday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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