PORT MORESBY POLICE BEAT ROBBERY VICTIM

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, October 25) – Police brutality has reared its ugly head again over the weekend in Papua New Guinea when a senior journalist and a policeman were badly beaten and robbed in separate incidents in Port Moresby.

A former senior journalist with NBC Michael Jagui was badly bashed by police at Erima settlement in Port Moresby last week as he was reporting a robbery at his home.

Mr Jagui received 18 stitches for deep cuts to his head, when he was gun butted as he was trying to hand over a robbery suspect.

He alleged that three policemen got upset at his insistence because they claimed they knew the suspect and wanted to release him.

On Saturday, a police reserve officer Philip Rhambu was beaten and robbed by other policemen in two unmarked vehicles.

Mr Rhambu, who is executive director of PNG Youth Incorporation and a reserve policeman with the rank of chief sergeant major, claimed that his colleagues stole more than PGK2,000 [US$709] from his glove box after he was bashed for making a U-turn near the overhead bridge at the Waigani Stop N Shop in order to save an asthmatic’s life.

Journalist Mr Jagui, 49, last Monday followed criminals into Erima settlement trying to recover some stolen items in a break and enter stealing at his house, when he was confronted by a sector patrol unit from Gordons Police station.

Mr Jagui grabbed a criminal suspect and dragged him to the police car intending for the police to apprehend him for questioning.

However, a policeman said he lived in the settlement and knew the suspect and urged Mr Jagui to let the suspect go free.

Mr Jagui was upset about that and yelled at the policeman to find the esky and the washing machine stolen from his house.

This touched a raw nerve in the three policemen who punched him on the face and using the butt of a M16 rifle clubbed Mr Jagui on the head as a female counterpart watched.

Mr Jagui sustained six deep cuts to the face, head and lips with three broken tooth and two others loose.

The cuts needed 18 stitches.

He has filed a complaint with the Ombudsman Commission and the Police public complaints sector to investigate the matter.

In the other incident, Mr Rhambu said he had gone to the shop at 7:30 pm to pay for the electricity (easi-pay) and was driving out of the gate when he saw an asthmatic man lying on the ground in dire need of help.

He said the man called out for help so he picked him up and made a u-turn in order to rush the man quickly to the hospital.

"I did not know that there was a car behind me, as I was driving towards the Car Club I heard gunshots been fired but I did not think they were shooting at me.

"I stopped at the bus stop near the club after a bullet intended for me hit a power pole," he said.

He said the policemen rushed out of the two brand new land cruisers (white and blue) and began beating him before he could offer any explanation."

He said a pump action, which was used to fire shots at him was also used to hit him on the head.

"After I fell unconscious, they stole PGK2,940 [US$1,042] in the glove box, which I had collected from the rentals for the week.

"I was also verbally abused by the policeman, who I recognised as a Dog Unit member.

He said the men went away quickly after they realised that he was also a police officer when they checked his identification cards (IDs).

He said his police ID was also broken by the culprits.

"I believe there is a police radio connected in those vehicles and these men are going around assaulting people in an incorrect manner.

"They are not supported to be beating offenders but to make arrests and the courts will decide if they are guilty or not," he said.

He warned the members of the general public to be aware of those police officers who are acting outside the work code of ethics or the Police Force Act.

He is hopeful of bringing these rogue cops to justice.

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