Niuean police defend handling of Maha Devi cult

Pacific Radio News, Soloman Islands/October 11, 2007

Auckland 6am: Police on Niue have also today defended the way they handled the overstaying American cult who forced locals to turn to a New Zealand court to recover money owed.

The Maha Devi Ascension Group finally left via a private jet last week and have apparently gone to Sydney, where there's controversy now over the plane they used.

Ross Arden, Niue's police commissioner, told Pacific Radio News that their hands were tied, despite the fact the Americans ran up four hundred thousand in debt.

Arden says the group were not criminals in their eyes, because they hadn't committed any offence and had not been a problem to police while on the island. (listen)

Foreign Affairs and New Zealand Aid ticked off authorities on Niue for the messy situation but Premier Young Vivian says the group want to return to Niue.

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