Three men from Kazakhstan were cited on Wednesday after being observed by three different law enforcement agencies, in the closed area of the Mauna Loa Forest Reserve on Hawai‘i Island. The area was closed shortly after the current eruption of Mauna Loa to protect people from risk of injury or worse.
An officer from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), was notified by Dept. of the Army Police assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Pōhakuloa Training Area that he’d observed three people walking in the closed and active lava flow area off Daniel K. Inouye Highway (saddle road).
Subsequently, an officer from the Hawai‘i Police Dept. contacted the trio as they walked back to their car in the public viewing area. When the DOCARE officer arrived on scene he cited them for entering a closed area under Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (HAR) 13-104-7.5
The three men cited are:
- 31-year-old Adibayev Axamat
- 23-year-old Daurem Sabit
- 32-year-old Nurz Niyaz
All three men are scheduled to appear in Hilo District Court on Jan. 20, 2023 on petty misdemeanor charges and could face fines up to $500 and/or jail time of 30-days.
DOCARE is also investigating people and companies who have entered the closed area and posted shots of themselves and lava flows on social media. Some of those who have posted their unlawful entry on social platforms are receiving death threats.
DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “The Mauna Loa Forest Reserve and active lava zone is closed for a reason. Eruptive activity can seriously injure or kill people. There are hidden dangers and when someone enters a closed area they are also putting first responders at risk if they’re called for help.”