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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post Courier, Jan. 31) – Papua New Guinea senior policemen said there was at present no law in the Criminal Code or Summary Offences Act that dealt with cult activities directly.

They made the comments after about one ton of coins amassed by a cult group in Pindiu, Finschhafen, was brought to Lae to be held in police custody.

[PIR editor’s note: The town of Finschhafen is located east of Lae on the central north coast of the Papua New Guinea mainland peninsula.]

The loot came in several patrol boxes (trunks), bags and other containers, which needed three trips by a hired helicopter to airlift to Lae.

Also confiscated and taken to Lae was a large quantity of traditional items, including a spear traditionally known as "tobou"—used for killing people—which the cult group had used for their worships.

The alleged cult leader Ariganang ‘Jesus’ Nanganang, and five of his henchmen were apprehended when police raided their camp in a remote village in the Hube LLG last week. They were taken to Lae and have been charged with threatening peace and good order.

They have hired a lawyer from Steels Lawyers who obtained bail on their behalf.

The six men will appear before the Lae District Court for mention this morning.

Meanwhile, police are investigating reports that the cult group was supported by some highly educated elites as well as business men and women in Lae who have invested substantially in its operations.

Mr. Yipam revealed that several respected business and community leaders from the Pindiu area had approached police to question them over their actions to disband the group. He said this indicated to police that the cult movement had the support of prominent people in Lae.

Police also indicated further charges would be laid on the cult leaders, and that the banks would be asked to assess the value of the coins. Police want to know if charges could be laid against the leaders for illegally keeping legal tender of other countries as well as long retention of the kina.

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