Thursday, 20 December 2007 3:15 PM

Gizo Magistrates Fine Foreigners for Illegal Entry

Four foreigners have been fined more than four thousand dollars after being convicted and sentenced for illegally entering the Solomon Islands.

The foreigners entered the Solomon Islands early last month and were charged with illegal entry.

During the hearing of their case last week, the court heard that the foreigners entered the country onboard the 'Barbarian' boat.

Rodney Pearce of Australia, Daisy Elaih of Papua New Guinea, Justin Taylan of USA and Yoji Sakaida of Japan were convicted and sentenced at the Gizo Magistrates Tuesday by Chief Magistrates Leonard Maina.

Magistrate Maina said that any foreigners who wish to enter the country must have proper traveling documents and proper clearance from the last country of departure.

Mr. Taylan, 30, has been held captive in the country since November 6, 2007, with the other three, also held in custody by Solomons authorities.

As a grandson of a World War II combat photographer, Carl Thien, Mr. Taylan gained an early appreciation for Pacific War air battles and was interested on the wrecks on the Balalae Islands, Shortlands.

He said that there are more World War II plane wrecks there than anywhere else in the world.

"We saw six Zero fighters, a Val dive bomber and a Betty bomber being illegally removed and that's why all this started."

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force confiscated their passports, photos and videotapes, placing them in detention without charges.

Last month, the four foreigners had been charged with illegally entering the country and pleaded innocent since they crossed borders through a published port of entry and in accordance with Solomon Islands law.

Mr. Taylan is also a founder of PacificWrecks.com, a free, non-profit history website dealing with World War II stories and Pacific theater airplane wrecks.