9-21-21 Sergeant Thomas Chun-Ming Recipient of Haweo Award

Hawaiʻi Police Department
Office of the Police Chief
Chief Paul K. Ferreira
Phone: (808) 961-2244

Media Release

For his outstanding work ethic and vigilance, which very likely saved the life of a woman who was in imminent danger, Sergeant Thomas Chun-Ming was honored with the Haweo Award during a ceremony held at Hawai‘i County Council chambers in Kona on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.

On April 23, 2021, just before noon, Sergeant Chun-Ming was conducting routine beat checks at the Kawaihae Boat Harbor when he noticed a rental type vehicle parked on the shoulder, but against the flow of traffic. He observed a woman in the driver’s seat staring straight forward and a man standing outside the vehicle avoiding eye contact with the sergeant. When Sergeant Chun-Ming completed his beat check he saw the car was still illegally parked with both individuals exhibiting the same avoiding type behavior, but now the man was seated in the front passenger seat.

What Sergeant Chun-Ming encountered when he stopped to contact the car occupants lead to the arrest and charge of the male occupant for kidnapping, sex assault, four counts of terroristic threatening, three counts of felony assault, and eight counts of abuse of a family household member. Upon his initial contact, Sergeant Chun-Ming observed the male individual with a knife wedged between his legs and the female victim with cut wounds and numerous newer and older bruises on her upper body and facial areas. He quickly separated them, placed the suspect in custody, and supervised the officers under his control to perform a detailed preliminary investigation for transfer to the Juvenile Aid Section for further investigation.

During the course of the investigation it was determined that the female victim was held captive for over a two-week period during which she was raped, punched in the face numerous times, head butted, cut with a knife, emotionally abused, and provided minimal amounts of food and water. The victim reported that her main source of water was from drinking from the shower when allowed to.

The victim told detectives she felt she couldn’t escape the suspect and would eventually be killed by him if not for the actions of Sergeant Chun-Ming.

The suspect remains in custody with bail set at $300,500.

This case was one of many occasions in which Sergeant Chun-Ming exemplified his professional and compassionate nature combined with great instincts and a strong work ethic.

The award was presented by the Council’s Parks and Recreation and Public Safety Committee (PRPSC), which earlier this year partnered with the Hawai‘i Police Department and Hawai‘i Fire Department to recognize employees that go above and beyond the call of duty. The police and fire departments alternate each month to select one employee to be the recipient of this award, which is presented during PRPSC meetings. Haweo, for which this award is named, means to glow or to be radiant. Sergeant Chun-Ming was presented with a lei and a certificate signed by each Councilmember at the ceremony.

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