Gambling raid on apartment building owned by monster house developer raises concern


HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — Monster home developers have been accused of ruining the character of Honolulu’s older neighborhoods.

But now, a monster property developer faces a new charge: attracting criminal elements.

Last week, police conducted a gambling raid on an apartment building at 1420 Liliha Street, seizing more than a dozen slot machines, cash and a gun. They also arrested the suspected operator, Qi Ling He, 55.

The building is owned by prolific monster house developer Christy Zeng Lei.

“Here we have a monster home developer who has a history of breaking the rules. And it’s no surprise that they allow a game room to operate under their noses,” said Tyler Dos Santos-Tam of HI Good Neighbor, who opposes monster house developments.

Lei and her husband have built dozens of oversized homes, mostly in Kaimuki and Palolo, which have been criticized for adding to congestion in neighborhoods and taxing infrastructure in the area.

Lei told Hawaii News Now that she does not know the man who was arrested and that he is a squatter, not a renter.

She said the property was also overrun by dozens of homeless people who found a way into the building and crashed into it.

Currently, the building is a commercial property, but because it is located in the city’s transit-oriented development district, it could be redeveloped as a residential project.

Dos Santos-Tam fears the developer is building another ugly monster house on the property.

“Here we have a developer who has a habit of not following the rules, completely ignoring them,” he said.

Lei said she has no plans to build residential units on the Liliha property. She said it will serve as offices for her construction company.

“People want to make me look bad. … Whatever I do, I play by the rules,” she said.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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