PORT MORESBY POLICE CHIEF BACKS CALLS TO IMPLEMENT DEATH PENALTY

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (Feb. 22, 2000 – The National)---City police chief Raphael Huafolo has called on relevant law enforcement agencies to implement capital punishment after a series of violent crimes in Port Moresby over the weekend.

Assistant Commissioner Huafolo, who is the divisional commander for the National Capital District (NCD) and Central, made the call after a family was held up by armed criminals and three women were gang raped inside their home in Gerehu suburb on Saturday night.

According to Mr. Huafolo, four men armed with two bush knives and two shotguns broke into the family's home at Gerehu stage 3B between 12 midnight and 1:00 a.m. on Saturday.

The four men held the mother and two other female relatives at gunpoint and raped them while other members of the family watched helplessly in horror.

Mr. Huafolo said neighbors alerted police, but the gang fled when police arrived.

"These types of vicious crimes are shocking and I believe appropriate law enforcing agencies must condemn the actions of these inhuman terrorists," said Mr. Huafolo.

He said police had launched a hunt for the four suspects.

In another incident, Mr. Huafolo said a schoolboy was killed in a fatal accident caused by criminals trying to escape in a stolen car at Koki on Friday afternoon.

The commander said the 15-year-old pedestrian was knocked over by criminals in a green Nissan Bluebird sedan.

"The kind of terror imposed on innocent people in our society has gone too far and the evildoers should be severely punished for their crimes," he said.

Mr. Huafolo said he supported the call for capital punishment made by the Police Commissioner earlier this month.

"We (policemen and women) have seen a lot of atrocities being committed by criminals in our society and we believe that only harsh punishment like capital punishment will deter violent crime in our society," he said.

"I reiterate the Commissioner's call for capital punishment and the fate of those convicted to the gallows should be widely publicized by the local media to drive fear into the minds of hardcore criminals."

Mr. Huafolo said for too long city residents have lived in fear of being attacked by criminals and the authorities must react swiftly and implement capital punishment.

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

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