ALMOST nine years have passed but no one has been charged with the murders of four men.
There are no clues to this day on who the killer is, where the murder weapon is and why they were killed.
What happened on that fateful night and the circumstances leading to the shooting deaths of four men remains a mystery.
Cakaudrove villager Rupeni Talakuli was shot to death with three Chinese men at his workplace in Wailada, Lami.
Apart from assuming what could have happened to them, there are still no solid leads.
While others may not be bothered about the circumstances leading to the four mens death, their families and friends are still wondering what went wrong and who killed them.
Today, The Fiji Times takes a look at this unsolved case in the first of a four-part series.
We take you down memory lane to the time when the case was first reported to police and how investigations progressed.
IT was Friday, August 22, 2003 when police officers arrived in numbers and sealed off a fish factory.
Workers near the Live Fish Exports (Fiji) Limited factory in Wailada, Lami were in the dark about what had happened.
A worker at the scene told The Fiji Times then that four bodies were discovered by a factory employee who decided to inquire after receiving no response to telephone calls that morning.
Police told this newspaper then that four deaths at a time was a very serious matter and as such, it would take some time to investigate.
However, they did assume that the killings could have taken place between the previous night and that Friday morning.
The bodies of three Chinese men and a Fijian man were removed from the factory after 6pm that day after police forensic experts had carried out their investigations at the scene.
On Sunday, August 24, this newspaper reported that police were investigating a link that a hired assassin killed the four men, who were found in pools of blood at different places.
The then Lami mayor Jasper Singh had said that the killings had shocked the small community in Lami.
Mr Singh had also urged the government then to take heed of the new pattern of killing and ensure that police are equipped and trained to deal with these kinds of crime.
Police investigators had revealed that the iTaukei watchman was found dead in the processing room, a young Chinese man in an adjacent processing room while two Chinese men were found in their bedroom upstairs.
The then assistant commissioner of police Crime Moses Driver was quoted in The Sunday Times as saying that the owners of the fish plant were seen alive on Thursday afternoon (August 21, 2003).
On Friday night we found that the condition of the bodies were well preserved because of the good airconditioning system, he had said.
Mr Driver was quoted by this newspaper on August 25, 2003 confirming that the four men were shot to death.
Our post-mortem (examination) also involved X-rays to determine where the metallic substance (the bullet) was lodged in their bodies.
At this moment we can confirm that all four died of gunshot wounds.
Mr Driver said police had a reason to be concerned because a gun was used and he urged the public for any information they had on the four dead men.
In that report, police confirmed that one of the deceased was Rupeni Talakuli, 26, of Cakaudrove and one was Chong Ho Kin, 24, who lived at Namara.
On Tuesday, August 26, the then police spokesman Mesake Koroi said investigations revealed that the four men were shot under the cover of darkness by a single unidentified person.
A pillow was used to muffle the sound of the gun. We are now questioning a Chinese businessman while many others have been questioned and released, he had said.
From investigations so far, the motive of the killing appears to be a business deal gone wrong but we also have not ruled out the possibility of other factors.
We now have a fair idea of what happened and the likely people who were behind this.
Many people have been questioned and more are likely to be brought in as the investigation progresses, Mr Koroi was reported saying in The Fiji Times on August 26.
Police had also revealed in that report that the other two deceased were Hong Kong nationals Kaa Kee Kueok, 36, who was the factorys general manager, and Wu Guiuiu, 19.
In The Fiji Times of August 27, the then police commissioner Andrew Hughes said they had not ruled out the possibility of the murders being linked to Asian mafia or transnational crime.
The fact that they were Asians does not necessarily mean that it was an assassination through transnational crime. All options are being considered, all options are being investigated, he said.
As investigations proceeded and police conducted interviews, they still could not identify the killer.
On August 29, 2003, this newspaper reported that police were keeping a 24-hour surveillance on a Taiwanese man suspected of assassinating the four men at the fish factory.
Mr Talakulis relatives told this newspaper then that they were suspicious about the job he had and he would always wait outside the factory for them when they visited him, after making sure that he locked the gate behind him before joining them.
On August 30, it was reported that two foreign nationals had been detained by police in connection with the murder of the four men inside the fish factory.
Police had also neither denied nor confirmed suspicion that fake money was being produced at the factory and that a wooden chest containing $20,000 worth of $1 coins was found there.
It was also reported that the gun used to kill the four men was yet to be found.
On August 31, 2003, this newspaper reported that the two foreign nationals who were detained by police in connection with the murders had been released.
The then divisional crime officer southern Superintendent of Police Josaia Rasiga had said that no fresh arrests had been made but police were pursuing certain leads and they hoped to close the case soon.
However, as the years went by, no one was arrested and charged by police in connection with the murders.
Mystery surrounds who killed the four men inside the fish factory but Criminal Investigations Department director Senior Superintendent of Police Vakacegu Toduadua confirmed on Thursday April 26, 2012, that the case was still open.
SSP Toduadua said they were working with Interpol to solve the shooting.
* NEXT WEEK: Murder connection