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Suspect in alleged threat against judge appears in court

  • DARYL LEE/ SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER.

    Ronald Joseph Kong appeared in a Hilo courtroom today after being charged with numerous crimes, including assault, firearms violations and possession of explosives.

A former fugitive, described as “extremely dangerous,” appeared in a Hilo courtroom this afternoon to face numerous charges as police revealed that he is the suspect in an alleged threat against a Big Island jduge.

Ronald Joseph Kong, 33, of Puna, is charged with abuse of a family/household member, second-degree assault, first-degree unlawful imprisonment, first-degree terroristic threatening, possessing explosive devices, three counts of possessing prohibited weapons, three counts of firearm on highway, place to keep pistol, two counts of place to keep ammunition, three counts of permit to acquire firearms, two counts of loaded firearm, two counts of alteration of identification marks prohibited, three counts of registration mandatory firearms, first-degree burglary, three counts of second-degree theft, six counts of third-degree promoting a dangerous drug, five counts of prohibited acts related to drug paraphernalia, and third-degree promoting a detrimental drug.

His bail was set at $467,000.

The charges stem from a domestic violence case in Hawaiian Acres; a search of a backpack and stolen vehicle that Kong was seen driving on Jan. 12; and a search of a property in Hawaiian Acres.

Kong was not charged in connection with the alleged threat against a judge, but remains under investigation in the case, police said. He is also a suspect in a burglary case.

The Honolulu Police Department’s Bomb Squad, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted the Hawaii County SWAT team in searching for the explosives. An explosive device was located during the search of the truck and backpack and was rendered safe by bomb technicians.

Police said Kong may also face federal charges in connection with the guns and explosives found.

Kong had been on the run since at least Jan. 11, when police issued a Crimestoppers bulletin asking the public for help in capturing him.

On the same day, police reported that they had opened a first-degree terroristic threatening investigation into an alleged threat against a sitting judge on the Big Island.

Police almost captured Kong on Jan. 12 when officers pulled over a stolen pickup truck in Mountain View near Kukui Camp Road. But Kong fled on foot into a forested area.

Police arrested Kong at about 11:45 p.m. Sunday at an Ainaloa home.

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