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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 6, 1999 – The National)---Police here will target prostitution and suspected brothels in Operation Sweep this month, Chief Superintendent Joseph Gawi said yesterday.

The operation was launched last month and initially targeted street vendors involved in selling betel nut and alcoholic drinks.

Mr. Gawi said police know of certain places, including hotels and private residences, which are being used to promote prostitution, and those will be hit in raids.

Chief Superintendent Gawi said any activities involving women using their bodies for money is prostitution and the police have received reports of where these activities are taking place and who is involved and encouraging them.

He said police would be making surprise raids to these suspected illegal brothels in the city over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, former police minister and Menyamya MP Thomas Pelika has expressed concern and disappointment at what he called aggressive and heavy-handed tactics used by police in the National Capital District against street-sellers.

Mr. Pelika said police in the city were using terror and aggression against weak and innocent people, which was deplorable and uncalled for.

Mr. Pelika said he deplored the gun rule and the bulling tactics being brought back into the force.

"Police should be and must be seen to be protecting the weak and the unfortunate against the aggressors.

"Instead police men and women are becoming the aggressors," he said.

The former policeman, who was minister in the last government, urged the police men and women to be fair, firm and friendly in their duties.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

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