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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (April 30, 2002 – Post-Courier)---Security at Jackson’s Airport’s international terminal in Port Moresby was found wanting last Friday, as an outbound passenger became a mugging victim inside the departure area.

It was only after the victim screamed for help that guards came running -- only to find that the assailant had escaped over the airport perimeter fence.

The victim — a young Australian woman — was returning from the rest rooms when a man approached and tried to snatch her handbag. In the ensuing struggle the assailant punched the young woman in the face and tore her blouse before fleeing.

Civil Aviation guards were again not present when a planeload of Japanese tourists arrived from Narita on Sunday.

Both incidents have incensed CAA director Miria Ume, who had ordered a security brief on the incidents to be delivered to him before close of business yesterday.

He described the security lapse as unacceptable.

When asked why a K 30 (US$ 8.27) user-charge was being collected from travelers and no proper security was provided in return, Mr. Ume said it was wrong for the public to expect the K 30 (US$ 8.27) to pay for all airport services.

He said it cost K 6 million (US$ 1, 652,400) every year to keep the airport operational and the K 30 (US$ 8.27) levy only generated K 2 million (US$ 550,800) yearly.

"It’s our living hell,’’ Mr. Ume said.

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

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