A bonsai master’s trees are stolen from his nursery

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Thousands of dollars of bonsai were stolen from a Waimanalo nursery.

Some of the trees were more than 50 years old, carried to Hawaii from China, and irreplaceable.

It’s been about two weeks since the bonsai were stolen and it left the bonsai master, Walter Liew, heartbroken and barely able to speak.

Sunday was the first time he spoke publicly and he hopes it will help bring his bonsai back home.

Liew, a world renown bonsai master, has been cultivating this art for 65 years.

The Dragon Garden Nurseries in Waimanalo tell a story of his past life in Taiwan and his years of hard work and training.

“This is my dream, this is my American dream, so I want to protect it,” Liew said.

Two weeks ago, someone broke into his garden on two different nights to steal some of his finest masterpieces.

“See, they took the best one. I just replaced it the one with new style. They took all of them,” Liew said.

He showed KHON2 the fence where he believes the thief or thieves came through.

“First they brought a car over and loaded,” Liew said.

The second time, they struck the other side of the garden.

“When they took one of the bonsai, I discovered, I cried right away,” Liew said.

He said his most elite plants were stolen, ones that had been a part of his family for 55 years.

“They took the one that worth $30,000 and another one that is worth $40,000,” Liew said.

Their pictures are illustrated in his book, The Living Art of Bonsai.

“They took the best, they must have a good education and admire for a long time,” Liew said.

He also says they knew exactly how to avoid his security cameras and dogs.

Liew, who teaches bonsai classes at Windward Community College, says he has been sharing his gift with hundreds, but not many can take care of these heirlooms like he can.

“It’s just like someone kidnapped my children, without watering and without proper care, in a couple of days, they die,” Liew said.

Liew has installed additional security measures including night vision cameras to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“Anyone coming at nighttime and trespassing nighttime, will be shot to death,” Liew said.

Although he is continuing on heartbroken and hopeful his bonsai will be returned home to him, he says he will not stop sharing his passion with others.

“I have another 30 years to bring more bonsai into the world, to teach more people to educate more people,” Liew said.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.

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