‘SHOOT TO KILL’: PNG COPS TARGET HIGHWAY ROBBERS 

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‘SHOOT TO KILL’: PNG COPS TARGET HIGHWAY ROBBERS Police patrol crime-ridden Okuk Highway

By David Muri PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 15, 2011) – Papua New Guinea police patrolling the Mendi to Tari sector of the Okuk Highway have been directed to "shoot to kill" any armed criminal elements who terrorise motorists and the travelling public.

And communities who clear landslides or construct bypasses and claim compensation will be prosecuted and charged.

These stern orders were issued by Southern Highlands provincial police commander Teddy Tei late yesterday.

"There are still some road blocks at Tari Gap and police are monitoring this portion of the road. I have directed police personnel to shoot to kill any armed criminal in the execution of setting up road blocks and terrorising innocent people," Chief Supt Tei warned.

The resource-rich province’s top cop said constant road blocks in this notorious section of the highway had declined due to regular police patrols with the assistance of the local communities. But he added that the Tari Gap section was still notorious.

Meanwhile, Mr Tei has also warned those who live along the vicinity of the highway to refrain from imposing excessive fees on the public in the pretext of clearing debris on landslip riddled portions. He said this practise was illegal and police would not tolerate such acts.

He reiterated that the communities were claiming compensation and collecting fees for doing maintenance on landslides.

"I wish to remind the people that Okuk Highway is owned by the Government including the seven metre perimeters and the maintenance of roads will be done by the Government. The people from the communities have no right to do maintenance and collect fees from the travelling public. It is illegal," PPC Tei said.

He has asked the Works Department to conduct constant patrols along the highway to identify those affected sites and conduct immediate maintenance as prolonging them were bearing adverse effects.

"I am now warning the communities along the highway that police will not hesitate to effect arrests on any person seen to do illegal maintenance on any affected road sites and collect fees,"he said.

He said the people must work on their land to produce vegetables and other products to earn a decent income from impact project like LNG and Oil Search rather than conducting illegal activities on the road.

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