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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, July 29) - Three men believed to be senior policemen in civilian clothes allegedly assaulted Hideaway Hotel staff on Friday around midnight.

The men assaulted five employees including the general manager, Gregor Blair-Smith, who was punched twice in the face.

Blair-Smith said the incident happened when a hotel guard asked the men to behave as they were behaving disorderly at the hotel’s foyer.

The hotel’s night auditor who witnessed the incident said the men were drunk and sat at the wrong places on the furniture and a glass coffee table. When the guard asked them to sit at the right places, they verbally abused him.

They spat on the guard and began punching him. The auditor tried to stop the men but was punched in the process. The men also cut the guard's hand with a sharp object.

The auditor also claimed that one of the men pulled out a pistol, cocked it and aimed it at the guard who ran for cover.

The hotel staff reported the matter to Six Mile police who arrived at the scene, but did nothing to stop the three men.

The auditor and guard were treated at the hospital. The other three including Blair-Smith were not seriously hurt.

NCD Central Police Commander Tony Wagambi said he has not received a report on the matter but said he would ask the Hideaway management to lay a formal complaint.

He said those involved would be dealt with.

July 30, 2004

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