A man linked to a violent attack in front of Honolulu Community College Monday morning has been charged.
At approximately 8:30 a.m., officials say a suspect was caught and positively identified by the victim with the help of campus security staff and Honolulu police.
Khammouane Thong was arrested and charged on suspicion of third-degree assault. His bail was set at $1,000.
He was also booked for two warrants.
According to police, a 21-year-old female student was reportedly attacked at around 6:30 a.m. Monday.
HCC officials said it happened at the bus stop near Costco, and involved a man who is homeless and known to frequent the area.
Police say Thong has no local address.
Honolulu Community College said it was in the process of increasing security, especially after Monday’s attack.
HCC vice chancellor Derek Inafuku said officials alerted faculty and students immediately after the attack.
“We had email and text messages going out to all faculty and students,” explained Inafuku.
“I was a little uneasy coming to school,” said student Myra Dagan. “I was thinking to myself, if I didn’t know about it, it wouldn’t change my perspective. But it was a little unnerving to hear about it.”
Some students told KHON2 they generally feel safe on campus, but it’s a different story outside, especially on Dillingham Boulevard by the bus stops.
“When I’m off campus, trying to get on the bus stop, there’s a lot of homeless people. I get kind of scared. It’s sketchy walking around,” said student Jadyn Razon.
Razon says students see a lot of familiar “homeless” faces in the area.
“I always think they’re going to come up to me and ask me something or scare me, but I try to stay away from them,” Razon said.
Inafuku says Monday morning’s assault against the student was the first in years, but HCC is an open campus.
He admits he’s seen homeless wander in and try to use facilities, so they’re increasing security. Right now, there are four security guards covering a campus with 8,200 students.
Inafuku says that will soon double to eight guards monitoring 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We also hired private guard service to assist for private escort for students to their cars,” he said.
Inafuku adds the city’s cleanup of the homeless living at nearby Kapalama Canal helped.
“We had fencing placed along the Kapalama Canal,” he noted. “It’s something the city has tried hard to address the homeless problem.”
HCC installed better lighting on campus, and want more people to take advantage of the blue call boxes.
“We can always get better and we are trying to improve as we encounter more situations like this,” he said.
After the attack, Honolulu City Councilmember Joey Manahan, who represents the area, released the following statement:
“Although we have been successful in clearing the encampment along Kapalama Canal, unfortunately our issues with homelessness persist. Assault is a crime regardless of who commits the crime, and today’s incident highlights the need for the Kapalama Canal working group, comprised of our office, the area businesses including HCC, HPD, and IHS (Institute for Human Services), our service providers, to continue working together to address the ongoing safety concerns and maintain the area. Most immediately, we need to launch an awareness campaign for the student body and the surrounding community.”
Anyone with information about the incident should call police or CrimeStoppers at 955-8300.