PNG SUPREME COURT WARNS OF SEVERE SENTENCES FOR RAPE

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 28, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The Papua New Guinea Supreme Court has warned it will impose severe sentences on men convicted of pack rape.

Radio Australia correspondent Richard Dinnen reports that the warning was announced as police hunt for an estimated 40 teenagers allegedly involved in a pack rape at a high school last Tuesday.

"Rape, particularly pack rape, has increased dramatically in Papua New Guinea.

"It's long been felt police and the courts don't adequately respond.

"The Supreme Court has signaled it will get tough with rapists. It has dismissed an appeal against 18-year sentences imposed on three men convicted of pack rape, and said PNG law does provide for life imprisonment for rapists.

Police in the Western Highlands are still looking for some 40 boys who pack-raped students at a high school dormitory on Tuesday. It's the third such incident at educational facilities in under a year.

"Education Minister John Waiko has condemned the attack, but says the Government doesn't have the resources to provide tougher security at PNG schools.

"Richard Dinnen, Port Moresby."

SCHOOL GIRLS PACK-RAPED AT TOGOBA

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 27, 1999 – Post-Courier)---Girls at Togoba High School in Western Highlands Province were allegedly pack-raped early on Tuesday morning.

Thirty-eight young men entered the girls' dormitory at the school and assaulted the students.

Police in the province confirmed the incident yesterday.

Police said the invaders allegedly threw stones and sticks at area power lines at about 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday and caused a blackout.

The men then crawled under the wire fence into the girls' dormitory and allegedly raped the girls in the darkness.

Provincial police commander Goose Labia said some suspects have been picked up by Mount Hagen police and are being held in custody.

He said police were investigating the Togoba incident.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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