Charges refiled against retired police captain

  • FUKUI

A retired Hawaii Police Department captain accused of tipping off Hilo arcade owners prior to a 2017 police gambling raid made his initial court appearance Tuesday on refiled charges.

Douglas Halsted and Jamae Kawauchi, attorneys for 68-year-old Chadwick Fukui, went back and forth with Deputy Prosecutor Sheri Lawson about discovery in the case. In the end, Hilo District Judge Bruce Larson granted a defense request to delay arraignment and plea until 1:30 p.m. July 23.

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Fukui is charged with obstructing government operations and two counts each of second-degree hindering prosecution and tampering with physical evidence, all misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail upon conviction.

Now retired Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura had previously dismissed the hindering prosecution and tampering charges, ruling records of calls made to and from Fukui’s cellphone were inadmissible as evidence because they were obtained by an administrative subpoena instead of a search warrant.

County Prosecutor Mitch Roth refiled charges on Feb. 21, and added the obstructing charge.

Fukui was charged in connection with an Aug. 10, 2017, raid on Triple 7 arcade in the Canario Building in downtown Hilo.

Fukui applied to be police chief in 2008, but then-Deputy Chief Harry Kubojiri was chosen for the department’s top job.

Fukui and a retired police detective, Brian Miller — who was still on the force at that time — are accused of tipping off Triple 7 owners Lance and Stacey Yamada.

According to a document filed by prosecutors, Miller called Fukui “after learning about the execution of the search warrant in the morning hours of Aug. 10, 2017.”

“Chad Fukui then made a series of phone calls to the Triple 7, Lance Yamada and so forth,” the document states. “Furthermore, the discovery includes video surveillance that corresponds to the time of the phone calls, video of the removal of the gambling devices, who did it and when the Hawaii County Police Department arrived at the Triple 7 to execute the search warrant.”

A key prosecution witness is retired police detective Ian Lee Loy, who is facing his own legal issues.

Lee Loy is charged with second-degree assault, a Class C felony, for allegedly attacking Neal Tanaka, the acting deputy chief of the county Department of Public Works Building Division, on July 25, 2019, while still a member of the police department.

In a separate case, Lee Loy also is charged with misdemeanor domestic abuse for an alleged attack on his wife, County Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, on May 25 in the couple’s Hilo home.

Both Hilo Circuit judges, Henry Nakamura and Peter Kubota, recused themselves from hearing either of Lee Loy’s cases, and Kubota recused himself from hearing the charges against Fukui, as well.

On Monday, Lee Loy pleaded not guilty in the spousal abuse case before Kona Circuit Judge Robert Kim, who ordered him to appear for trial at 9 a.m. Sept. 8.

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Lee Loy previously pleaded not guilty to the assault charge, and Kim will hear that case as well. A trial date has not been set.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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