If you have already been scammed, or are about to be scammed, and still suffer from the "I want to believe" syndrome, there is no point in reading on. Your condition is fatal and you are dead meat. You do what you want to do and nothing you read or hear can save you. However, if your brain is still fully turned on and your emotions fully turned off and you want to hear from people who have absolutely nothing to gain from lying to you, read on:

"We have advised a number of people who have approached us with interest in Cocomo Village on Hunga Island that, in our view, there are legal difficulties which mean that security of title to any property in this development is not secure. This remains our position."

A Tongan legal practitioner


"There has been one well known scam in Vava'u the last decade or so, ran by one of the Lords, which claims to be able to sell parcels of land to foreigners under a "special arrangement" when this is completely illegal. It seems because of his high position nobody wants to upset the apple cart by formally investigating."
Tripadvisor

"In my humble opinion, do not buy anything (only Tongans can really own property); only rent for a few months and see what you think ... Every ex-pat we met that owned a business wanted out. All foreign owned businesses were pretty much up for sale (that should tell you something) (watch out for those Ex-Pats, tons of in-fighting) ... my last advice would be, DO NOT commit any real money till you have stayed there a while, that one piece of advice will save you a big headache; leave your wallet at home. We met business owners who bought on a whim and regretted it ever since."
Tripadvisor

As we now know, there was never anything there, but realtor extraordinaire Robert Bryce is still flogging the stuff at US$6,880 or US$6,990, depending where you look (he actually offered me TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE! which is still too much for a worthless piece of paper) - click here and here.


Things got so bad in Tongan real estate that a Royal Land Commission was convened - see here.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Robert Bryce is right!

 

Some of the islands in the Kingdom of Tonga are so heart-achingly beautiful, they take your breath away. Small wonder they attract all sorts of expatriate floatsam and jetsam. A long-ago resident of these happy isles, Robert Bryce, has a particular way with words to describe them:

"Tonga is a wonderful mix of culture and humor. Humor prevails in Tonga. Like a theme park, Tonga has all the characters. Living here is challenging, elusive and most interesting. Orderly chaos might describe its internal functions. Like a beehive, the closer in you get the more confusion and disorder you see, but somehow critters that aren’t meant to fly do and things get done, problems get solved or just go away - this is Tonga. If the plane does not fly today, it may tomorrow and that gives you another day to enjoy your stay. Friendly is what Captain Cook called these islands - though he was almost roasted on his visit to Tonga. The people are friendly, gracious, helpful and generous with everything they have. There are four different groups of islands that make up Tonga, each with their own expression of the Tongan creed. If you are looking for adventure but do not want to risk your life, Tonga is probably the choice, be it for your holiday or a better place to live.

Tonga is politically and functionally independent; no country owns or presides over Tonga. The King has wisely not sold out to, or aligned himself with, any larger country outside the region. Sometimes it feels as though the Tongans know something about life that the rest of the world is in the dark about.

Tongans take life as it unfolds and they make the best of it, good or bad. Tonga sits on the International Dateline so the travel brochures promote it as the land “where time begins.” It is also where time doesn’t matter. Stress-free and loose schedules are a way of life on the islands, unlike the more punctual Northern Hemisphere.

It is interesting to consider that each day on this planet begins in Tonga. Not exclusively, but regardless of who you are, your official calendar day starts here.

We live it first and by the time the Stock Exchange opens in New York, it is tomorrow in Tonga.

So, where is elusive Tonga? Somewhere in Africa?… is where most guess who have not heard of the islands.

There are even a few stories around about people sending mail or freight from the USA to Tonga and having had their freight end up in Africa, and sometimes that is where it stays. I guess most people in the world don't really know where their day begins. Tonga is located in the middle of the South Pacific (tell your postman) about 20 degrees south of the equator and 180 degrees west latitude. It was one of the last group of islands in the South Seas to be discovered by the European explorers. Tonga continues to be discovered today by pleasantly surprised travelers and tourists. Though on the map most vistors to the South Sea islands fly right over Tonga on their way to more popular tourist destinations like Fiji. French Polynesia is to the east and Fiji just to the west. New Zealand is to the south about 1,500 miles away, and American and Western Samoa just to the north about 400 miles away.

Modern sailors have no problem finding Tonga, for the Vava’u Island Group, the crown jewel of the Kingdom of Tonga, has long been a popular port of call for yachts cruising the South Pacific. Vava’u, once spelled Vavaoo, which is closer in spelling to the pronunciation, is home to our family.

We too, arrived by sailboat about 4 years ago, checked in at the main port of Vava’u and we are still here. The “Port of Refuge,” the main harbor of Vava’u is very well protected, as is the entire island group. A huge reef system which forms up to 60 emerald islands, shields the islands from the relentless ocean tides that pound the walls of coral and volcanic rock. Even a tsunami would spend its force on the walls around Vava’u.

Within the protected islands, white sand beaches, caves, coves, and blue water lagoons decorate each island. Small boats can safely navigate the relatively calm inter-island waterways making this island group unique. There are a few small resorts on the many islands, all of which offer the vistor a true Robinson Crusoe island experience, but with all the amenities. The islands are perfect for charter yacht sailors - no big waves, gentle trade winds and lots of beautiful anchorages.

Humpback whales have made Tonga their holiday destination as well. Each year the Humpback whales migrate here, probably because they don’t need a “Transit Visa". Here they breed and bear their young, schooling them for their big trip back to Antarctica in October. Tourists that somehow find Tonga may attend classes with the whales, swimming with whales is an incredible experience. This is the only country in the world in which you can swim with whales.

Governments are like magnets, attracting some and repelling others. Thank God we can still move around the planet. And, it is nice to be free without having to be brave.

Government is usually where things break down in most countries, but Tonga is blessed with a stable constitutional monarchy, successfully in business since 1860. A Kingdom with a real King and a Royal family that are benevolent in their rule. But like with any bureaucracy, a little political wrangling probably keeps everyone busy and, merrily, most of us feel like we are in a classroom with no teacher. Freedom is having fun without someone being there with a gun; and guns are something they don’t have in our little haven from crime and punishment. The police are armed with smiles and respect the populace. Crime in most of Tonga is very minor. They tell me the prison in Vava’u used to have a sign on it that said: “Not in by 9 PM, you'll be locked out” Things have toughened up some lately. Now they have to be in by 6 PM. It’s true, during the day you are basically free, but better get back on time or you will miss out on the Kava party. No one fears getting shot at McDonalds on Tonga … anyway there are no McDonalds.

Life is good in Tonga. The bugs and animals mirror the harmless populace. There are no harmful bugs, except for one species of centipede, no malaria, no snakes, no critters lying in the weeds waiting to harm you. In fact, there aren’t many wild animals at all. If this were Disneyland, we would be on the little kids ride where a child walks safely through the jungle. We do have pigs so, ‘good fences make good neighbors.’

Peace of mind has to be mentioned as a part of the appeal of these islands. You take it for granted after awhile. Peace of mind creeps up on you quite naturally, due in part to the fact that you can rid yourself of the “bad news” addiction you've acquired from watching too much evening television in the States. We have TV, but it is not very popular. Real life is so much more interesting in this Land of Oz than any soap opera and we certainly have no bad news to report. Most of the bad news generated in the big countries has nothing to do with us, anyway. Folks returning from the “civilized world” after a two-week visit, arrive in Tonga exhausted and depressed, but very happy to be back home in their island paradise. Watching all that crime and propaganda everyday is a huge pill to take for a cleansed soul that is not used to any more trouble than some spilt milk - milk being mostly imported.

No traffic lights, is how I answer the question; “Why did you choose Tonga?” Well, that is part of it. I also enjoy my new freedom of not having to keep one eye on the rear-view mirror. A police officer on every corner may create more crime than it prevents, as evidenced by the success of the law enforcement system in Tonga where you rarely see an officer. Common sense and mutual concern rule. You find you don’t break the rules, written or otherwise, out of concern for others, and not because some uniform might arrest you: concern replaces fear in Tonga. Policing yourself is the key to real freedom.

Discovery TV is boring compared to the discoveries one makes in Tonga, particularly in the Vava’u Island Group. Vava’u is like an oasis in the ocean. The huge ring of protective reefs combined with islands strung like emerald pearls results in a sea within a sea, with the pattern of islands resembling an ink spatter on an azure canvas. The islands come in all shapes and sizes and some come as round as a silver dollar. You see colors, hues and views that even a $5,000 camera can’t get right. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the real thing is worth a million. The ambiance is all encompassing. You are surrounded by pure nature and all your senses are activated and enhanced. The air is pure, oxygen laden, with hints of floral scents and exempt of any pollutants. The sea is clear, clean with all the iridescent hues of blue. What you cannot see you can feel and the combination of it all is the appeal. For a delightful experience, put Tonga on your map." Read the original article here

As I said, Robert Bryce is right: Tonga is a wonderful place. It's just that his spruiked-about Cocomo Village is nothing like that. Not even close!

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

To all you long-suffering would-be Hunga-rians

 

You've already paid good money for nothing (and for all I know, you are still paying $35 a month which could be feeding a family in Africa for a month or protect an endangered animal for a year instead of keeping a scammer in a lifestyle he doesn't deserve); now how about getting something for nothing for a change?

SBS, Australia's multicultural and multilingual broadcaster, offers free, unlimited streaming of TV shows, films and events. You can watch full-length movies, both Australian 'kultcha' and foreign ones, anytime and free of charge.

Simply go to sbs.com.au and click on "Sign Up" in the top bar. Then sit back, relax and get your popcorn ready, with over 650 films from the big screen available to view for free.

Don't thank me; thank the SBS Team.

 

When US$600,000 is not enough!

 

Honestly (although I shouldn't be using this particular adjective in conjunction with Cocomo Village), I had thought they'd leave Hunga Island Estate Limited to die on its rotting vine.

It had been deregistered in February 2018 and for a whole two-and-a-half months we still had telemarketers, scam emails, scam phone calls, but at least "Cocomo Village" had disappeared off the face of the planet (which was really quite easy, as it's never been there in the first place).

But it was not to be: the directors have re-registered it and, for what it is worth, "Cocomo Village" is back in business. Full marks for trying, as they haven't had a buyer since sometime in 2016 but, as they say, hope springs eternal and the lust for money is never-ending.

In fairness to good ol' Robert Bryce, he has toned down his spruiking, at least on the internet, although he still tells plenty of fibs in his emails to prospective buyers. It remains to be seen how many fools will fall for his now much toned-down "grey" webpage - see here. Spend some of that US$600,000 on a professional website design, Robert! And while you're at it, why not spend a bit on infrastructure at "Cocomo Village"? Here's my favourite design for a reception centre:

 

"I'm soooo pleased they finally built a reception centre.
It makes finding my allotment so much easier!"

 

Having already collected well over US$600,000 from fools all over the world, apparently that's not yet enough, so a new End-of-Rainy-Season-Sale has begun! Buy a piece of nothing; in fact, buy several pieces of nothing because there's no longer a "Limit of Four per Customer" and the supply is endless - as is the supply of fools. Just don't think of building a highrise - "no high rises, to make that clear!"

Happy shopping to all you dreamers! God must love stupid people; he made so many. And happy hunting to you, Rob! I shall ask some of my friends to make more "inquiries" with you about "Cocomo Village" and your other two 'children', gonativefiji.com and cocomolodge.com, to keep you on your toes. ☺ Right now they're fine-tuning their skills:

 

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

All good scams must come to an end

 

 

After having failed for seven months to lodge their Annual Return, the promoters of infamous "Cocomo Village" finally had their company de-registered on 1 February 2018. No more company, no more scams!

Good, I thought, although perhaps they'll fix things up and lodge their long-overdue Annual Return, and continue with the charade of "selling" their fantasy of a tropical island to dreamers from around the world.

After all, according to Item 27 of this Schedule of Fees, it'd only cost them $599 (and that's Tongan dollars!) to have the company restored to the register - and what's that when compared to more than US$600,000 - and counting! - already extracted from this sc.. - ahem! - scheme?

 

 

And so I kept checking. After one week, it was still de-registered!

 

 

After two weeks, it was still de-registered!

 

 

After three weeks, it was still de-registered!

 

 

After a whole month, it was still de-registered!

 

 

After TWO whole months, it was still de-registered!

 

 

And as I write this post, it is still de-registered!

 

 

I'm torn between wanting it re-registered so I can keep writing about it, and wanting it stay de-registered so no more people can get ripped off.

 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Want to save $6,970.05 ?

 

Want to save $6,970.05 ? Then, instead of sending $6,990.00 to Robert Bryce, send $19.95 to me and I'll tell you how to avoid his Cocomo scam.

Only kidding! I'll do it for free! Simply keep reading this blog!

 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

That's what friends are for

 

It's gone quiet about Cocomo Village and Hunga Island Estate Limited. The former never existed and the latter no longer does after having been struck off the Tongan Companies Register. Even spruiker extra-ordinaire Robert Bryce has stopped spruiking and cut back his phantas-magorical website to a monotone shade of grey. So what's going on?

I asked my friend Percy to send a short email to Robert: "Cocomo looks like interesting stuff. More information, please." Here's Rob's reply:

 

"Cocomo is definitely interesting stuff. I know a lot about it because I have been advertising the project since its inception. The offer is fairly mundane and as basic as a cheap lot on a large island in a beautiful setting in Vava’u Tonga, made available to anyone who wanted a little piece of paradise and generally for their retirement in the south seas. Some, knowing the political and financial situation in their homelands saw this Cocomo as a refuge from the bubble bursting, advancement of violence and a “1984” syndrome in the making.

The interesting thing for me was how many people were into holding a safe harbour “to go to” in the free and still wild South Pacific. Over a hundred people bought in but no one built anything much there—not yet. The other interesting thing was trying to sort out the mind of a German fellow in Australia with an obsession he had with the offer, the island, the island group and Tonga, me, Tongans and all these things in general. He wrote loads of blogs condemning all of it. He was deciding for everyone that the island was a horrid place. People who came out to see it bought in, so that said something to the contrary of this guy’s condemnations. Lots of opinions and incorrect information in those blogs. He told me he had never been to where Cocomo was located, only to the island next to it where he had a run in with the people whom he was staying with. He never wanted a lot, he just wanted to stir it up, bored I supposed, but the obsession was suggested to be of a more serious mental condition. Occasionally would check out what disinformation or fig newtons of his imagination had him ranting on about.

The offer could be for 99 years because nobles can lease their land for up to that term. This estate is the noble of the island and the ex-governor and Deputy Minister of Lands of Vava’u Tonga. About every Ministry has blessed the project over the years, including the Royal Family, so that says something too.

The good news and positive stuff about the offer is the location in the island group is quite grand and typical south seas. Food grows, fish are plentiful, the land is cheap and the ocean is right there before you, unpolluted with air clean as you would find only in these non-industrial islands. You can build houses out there, in spite of some saying you can’t, proof is there are houses on the island and some proper ones too, including a small resort or two.

The issues the project had over the years were mainly the road would grow over with brush if it wasn’t used by vehicles, which the few times would one go out to the lots couldn’t keep the weed back. You could mow it today and in a month it would be a foot tall again. Earlier this year they brought out an excavator to really clean the roads up and they did. The only other issue that had merit was the in the lax Tongan way the company that holds the land lease would be late filing, practically every year, and yet that is a south seas island way of tending to things, “lax” is the mild way of putting a seemingly wholesale disregard for details and time and deadlines. The entire South Pacific operates like that so when you get into that casual mode, you flow with it and are never put out or disturbed by much, even filing taxes late. Even the airlines are late. The ferry is late. The word late doesn’t really exist—nor does accountability, which the like meaning term doesn’t exist in the Tongan language. This is a very relaxed way of attending to things but it all works out and in time. LOL

So, what more can I tell you, just ask.
And let me know if you want a lot, cause a just a few got.
Warm tropical regards,
Rob"

 

Good ol' Robert seems to have developed an obsession about Germans. Just as well he didn't mention the war! - see here  ☺

He must've learned a few things from his run-ins with the law, such as "Never ask a question to which you don't already know the answer" and "Come clean with the bad stuff before your adversary dumps it on you".

It's good to see him keeping up his spirit and still spruiking his wares.

"Thanks, Percy, for finding out for me!"

"No problem at all! That's what friends are for", he replied.

 

Saturday, April 7, 2018

"Limit of four per customer"

 

There must be at least eleven would-be-"Hunga-rians" who now wished super-salesman Robert Bryce had imposed a limit of 2 instead of the then advertised "limit of four per customer". (Most bought just one non-existing lot but ten people bought two lots each, nine people bought three lots each, and two people bought four lots each, all 'sight unseen' and based on nothing more than Rob's phantasmagorical stories full of flowery paragraphs studded with adjectival magnificence aimed at ex-citing the brain with visions of Paradise. Almost as good as him, isn't it?)

In their then greed or exuberance they may have felt cheated out of the opportunity to buy more than 'only' four lots in Cocomo Village but this must be like nothing when compared to how cheated they must feel to-day after having finally found out how royally they've been ripped off.

I mean, it's one thing to have bought something that doesn't come up to expectations, but having bought something that doesn't even exist gives the definition of rip-off a whole new meaning.

So don't feel cheated. Feel relieved that good ol' Robert had put a limit of four on it and stopped you from making an even greater fool of your-self! Feeling better already?