SUVA, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Three police officers sustained injuries in the weekend and 17 men are now in police custody in Levuka, Ovalau, in the Lomaiviti Province, the old capital of Fiji, after a violent confrontation with police.
The three officers had initially attended responding to a report on Saturday night where 20 men from three villages were drinking in a public place. When the officers asked the men to clear the area, they were threatened and chased.
Acting Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu has deployed a 20-men team from the Police Special Response unit in Suva, the capital to Levuka to assist on the case.
Tudravu said attacks on law enforcement officers is inexcusable and will not be tolerated as he urged Fijians to work with the police.
Tudravu will this week meet the village elders in Levuka to encourage the need to respect authority.
In another case, a 37-year-old man alleged to have threatened a police officer on duty with an axe at a police post in Suva has been charged with Criminal Intimidation and one count of Serious Assault.
This year alone the Fiji police force has recorded 129 cases where police officers have been victims of serious assault by members of the public.
The Fiji police force said earlier it is concerned over the number of attacks their officers are involved in after increasing foot patrols to try and curb an increase in crimes in the towns.
Recently, a 24-year-old Fijian police officer from the Lautoka police station died after being stabbed by a suspect of a theft case in the nation's second largest city. He was rushed to the Lautoka hospital where he passed away.
In another case, three youths allegedly threatened a police patrol car team in Nadi, Fiji's third largest city.
Fiji's Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho said earlier police have held major raids daily and netted millions of dollars of drugs in the island nation and that was why they were not liked.
With the recent incidents of street mugging, pickpocketing and many other petty crimes in Suva, the police had increased foot patrols, but it seems the attack on police officers is increasing.