Fence restricts Chinese visitors at museum on base property

By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser | Published: February 2, 2013

A rented 6-foot-tall security fence was put up to corral 1,600 Amway China conventioneers at a gala party Friday at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor, said people familiar with the planning.

The barrier fenced off an area between Hangars 37 and 79 used by the nonprofit museum on Ford Island on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The Navy declined to address the measure other than to say in a statement, "The safety and security plan for this event was agreed to by the Pacific Aviation Museum and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and was established to ensure a safe and successful event for the museum, event participants, and the security of the base. Planning for special events of this magnitude and complexity are conducted on a case-by-case basis. We are not at liberty to go into the specific details of this plan."

Ken DeHoff, the museum's executive director, said in a separate statement, "We have worked closely with Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to ensure a safe and successful event and to honor the requests of the U.S. Navy. … We are partners on Ford Island and we work to respect the special requirements that are sometimes necessary on an active military base."

The Navy initially approved the museum visit and gala party for the Chinese nationals, then more recently decided against allowing the big event and then finally gave the OK again, officials said.

Fifty-seven tour buses were expected to bring the guests and performers to the museum. More than 200 set designers, actors, dancers and sound and light technicians spent two weeks putting together a show in Hangar 79, the museum said.

Anne Murata, marketing director for the museum, previously said the Chinese group was looking for something a little more exciting and historic than the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

"The Chinese are very big fans of the museum because of our emphasis on the Flying Tigers exhibit," Murata said.

Also known as the 1st American Volunteer Group, the Flying Tigers defended China against the Japa­nese in late 1941 and into 1942 with their shark-faced P-40 fighters.

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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