PNG GROUP SEEKS ENFORCEMENT OF VAGRANCY LAW

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Crime creeping into urban areas from rural villages

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, December 31, 2008) – A law and order advocacy group in Lae City in Papua New Guinea has called on the Morobe Provincial Government to re-introduce vagrancy laws in the province.

The Morobe Community Welfare and Justice group made the call during a peace reconciliation ceremony between two warring Highlands groups last week.

The Post Courier reports the ceremony was aimed at ending ethnic violence between Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands people at the Four Mile area outside Lae two weeks ago.

Three people were killed and properties worth thousands of kina destroyed.

During the ceremony, Western Highlands’ spokesman and local businessman Fred Wak called on Morobe political leaders to re-introduce the Vagrancy Act to control the flow of people into the city.

Mr Wak also said the escalating law and order problems in the city are due to the influx of people, especially from the Highlands and Mamose regions.

Parliament enacted the Vagrancy Act some years ago but the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional as it breached the freedoms of the people and the politicians have not entertained similar moves to stop the urban migration.

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