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Illegal Okole Hao Still

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HPD History: Different Eras, Different Issues

08/23/2013


In the early 1940's during the war years, the HPD dealt with the massive influx of military personnel to Honolulu and the social issues and the criminal activity that followed.

With a larger population in Honolulu came increases in assaults, brawls, and corruption associated with vices like prostitution and alcohol. The HPD during that time allocated resources to address these emerging problems.

When the war ended the issues associated with the military build up slowly dissipated and concentration shifted toward localized vices like gambling and typical crimes that we see today such as thefts and burglaries.

A uniquely local vice during that era was the making of illegal liquor called "Okole Hao" an alcoholic spirit brewed using the root of the Ti plant. HPD was called upon to assist other law enforcement agencies tasked with enforcing laws regarding this illegal production.

On occasion, when these illegal stills were found they were typically destroyed at the scene and suspects involved in the illegal brewing arrested.

The photos depict the scene of this type of operation and the attempts made to control this illegal activity during that time.

Photos and story provided by Retired Assistant Chief Joe Aveiro.