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Moiliili man held on $1 million bail for 7 arson counts

By Rob Shikina

LAST UPDATED: 10:14 p.m. HST, Jun 15, 2011

A 45-year-old Moiliili man is facing seven counts of arson in connection with several fires he set last month to target people talking to his ex-girlfriend, police said.

Thomas J. Chong was charged today with first-degree and second-degree arson. His bail was set at $1 million.

He was indicted on five counts of arson last week related to four fires in Makiki between May 10 and 17. One of those fires destroyed a vehicle and burned part of a unit above. The other three fires were stopped in time and caused minimal damages. Chong was rearrested Tuesday after posting $100,000 bail May 25.

Police said Chong has been targeting people who speak with his ex-girlfriend, apparently out of jealousy. 

After his first arrest, police said Chong twice set fire to a car belonging to the friend of his ex-girlfriend and tried to light fires to the doorways of two Wilder Avenue apartments while people were sleeping. 

After he posted bail, detectives later learned that Chong allegedly set fire to a Tantalus property on May 20. Accelerant pooling at the base of the property led to a small fire ball that threatened two separate dwellings where a 56-year-old man and a 79-year-old woman were at home in bed. The damages in that fire were also minor, police said.

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