- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

PAHOA, Hawaii (AP) - Eight people claiming Hawaiian sovereignty rights were arrested Friday on charges that they were illegally living in a foreclosed Puna home, Hawaii County police said.

Four men and four women ranging in age from 19 to 83 were charged with criminal trespassing, police said.

The Kurtistown home on Kapalai Road has had previous problems with squatting. Several adults were confrontational when state sheriffs served an eviction notice July 25, police said, but all 12 adults and children left with their belongings. A real estate agent changed the locks.

Earlier this month, police checked on the house after receiving information one of the two homes on the property was occupied again.

“Police observed a woman outside the house who immediately went inside, secured the door and refused to come out, arguing that she had Hawaiian sovereignty rights allowing occupancy of the house and property,” police said in a statement.

Police overheard there were others inside the house and told them they would return.

Officers returned Friday and surrounded the house, prepared to force their way inside. But occupants voluntarily opened the door and all eight adults were arrested. They claimed sovereignty while refusing to be fingerprinted or photographed, police said.

The Humane Society was contacted to remove seven dogs from the property.



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