CHINESE ARRESTED FOR MURDER ATTEMPT ON PNG BUSINESSMAN

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Police believe Asian organized crime behind shooting

By Julia Bore PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 4, 2010) - Two Chinese nationals have been arrested for attempting to murder a prominent Port Moresby businessman and police yesterday linked the murder attempt to an alleged under-world Chinese triad operating in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The suspects currently behind bars at the Boroko police station are from Fujian province, China.

Both men cannot speak any English or Tok Pisin although police said one of the suspects worked in a Port Moresby nightclub while the other was unemployed.

Police yesterday said both suspects’ entry into the country was also under investigation.

The businessman, who escaped with injuries to his arm is Jason Tan (right), the managing director of Erima J-Mart.

Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Awan Sete told a media conference yesterday Mr. Tan was shot at five times as he was driving into his home at Paga Hill in Port Moresby.

Mr. Sete said Mr. Tan unknowing drove into the driveway of his home.

As he approached his home at about 3:30pm on Saturday, two gunmen concealed themselves in the vicinity and fired five shots at his car.

One of the bullets wounded Mr. Tan on his arm, Mr. Sete said.

The gunmen escaped in a car.

Mr. Tan immediately alerted police and a mobile squad intercepted the suspects at Baruni.

Two semi-automatic handguns and ammunition were found in their vehicle.

Changjiang Gao, 36, and Xue Zhufu, 38, have been charged with attempted murder and are awaiting court appearance.

Mr. Sete said: "This latest incident confirms the existence of Asian triad operatives in Port Moresby."

He said one of the firearms was registered to an individual whom they refused to identify.

He said they were checking the ownership of the second gun.

Police are using an interpreter to interview the suspects.

The Chinese Embassy has been informed of their arrest.

Mr. Sete said this attack came a few weeks after assassins’ attempt on Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek, "indicates that criminals are being used to assassinate people".

"I reassure residents in Port Moresby that all measures will be taken to fight this ugly trend of crime."

Mr. Sete commended his men for the quick response to apprehend the suspects and also called upon the public with any information on the incident to assist the police.

Metropolitan commander Chief Supt Fred Yakasa said he was worried about a new trend in crime in which people were being paid to kill.

"It is a frightening situation. It is involving Asians against Asians, or Asians using Papua New Guineans to kill."

Chief Supt Yakasa said if these two suspects were not caught, people would have pinned the blame of the attack on Mr. Tan on Papua New Guineans, and even linked it to the anti-Asian emails that had been going around.

"This (murder attempt) could be linked to business jealousy.

"We have to be concerned about the trend," Chief Supt Yakasa said.

He said they had identified two names of suspects in connection with the attempt on Mr. Manek’s life, and were continuing their investigations.

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