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Regional News

Palau official charged with assaulting staffer

KOROR (Pacific Note) — The director of Palau’s Bureau of Marine Resources is facing criminal charges for beating up an employee during working hours on April 18, 2017.

Leon Remengesau, the younger brother of President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., pleaded not guilty to six felony charges during his arraignment on Thursday last week,

Leon RemengesauLeon Remengesau

He was charged with assault in the second degree, terroristic threatening in the first degree, misconduct in public office, bribery of witness and two counts of intimidating a witness. The Office of the Special Prosecutor is prosecuting the case.

Leon Remengesau has been released on his own recognizance and was required to turn in his passport.

According to court records, Leon Remengesau “intentionally or knowingly caused bodily injury to [a] Marine Resources employee…with a dangerous instrument.”

The victim suffered a swollen arm after being hit by an iron chair and an iron shaft.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Director Remengesau scolded the victim and three of his co-workers for drinking beer instead of working.

The director picked up an iron chair and tried to hit the victim in the face, but the victim raised his arm to block the chair, the affidavit stated. It added that Leon Remengesau then picked a piece of an iron shaft from an old boat to spear the victim but he moved away to avoid getting hit.

Leon Remengesau then told the employees that they would either get fired or get physically harmed if they reported the incident to the police, the affidavit stated.

A Marine Resources employee quoted Leon Remengesau as saying, “I can terminate your employment anytime if you speak to the police about this incident.”

The victim said Leon Remengesau apologized to him on April 25, 2017 and gave him $10.

The victim and the other employees said that they are concerned about their safety.

One of them said that their director is “unpredictable,” and has the tendency to intimidate people.

He has a previous conviction and served time in jail for drug-related charges.