Security Advisers: PNG Becoming ‘Transit Haven’ For Drug Smugglers

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Local people increasingly involved in illicit trade

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 20, 2014) – Papua New Guinea is becoming a transit haven for international and illegal drug smugglers and there is nothing much the Government can do due to resource constraints, national security advisers have warned.

And more Papua New Guineans are getting involved in the multi-million kina international illegal drug trade, which is bringing in and bringing out illicit drugs that cost millions, specifically between Asia and the Pacific, they said.

The security advisers told the Post-Courier that PNG needed special attention to these issues in order to address it more diligently and effectively.

They said the number of Papua New Guineans caught abroad having in possession these illicit drugs was on the rise, citing the three known cases that are being tried in international courts at present.

One of these cases involves Mary Yawari, 40, who is facing life imprisonment or a fine of $A1.27 million [US$1.19 million] after trying to import $A2 million [US$1.87 million] worth of methamphetamine into north Queensland in October last year.

Another case involves Peter Mumun, who smuggled drugs into China early this year and was caught by airport authorities and is now facing the death sentence in the Republic of China.

The other involves the biggest drug bust at the Jackson’s International Airport where a PNG man, Agiwa Lai, who is now in police custody, was caught by airport authorities and now going through the courts to ascertain how a consignment of powerful recreational drug methamphetamine, worth more than $US20 million (K61.1m), was brought into the country from Hong Kong undetected.

The security advisers said yesterday the PNG Government needs to allocated sufficient funding for security – National Intelligent Organisation, Transnational Crime and other investigating agencies to combat this illegal trade that is affecting the national security and sovereignty of the country.

"This is also because all over the world it is now known that not only we have drug smugglers involved in selling and buying, we also have Nigerian money scammers already operating in our country and we need technology and resources to curtail this illegal trade that is threatening the nation," the advisers said.

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