Luxury Yacht Robbed By Armed Men In PNG

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Vessel belonging to Media mogul Stokes boarded in Madang harbor

By Dorothy Mark

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 7, 2014) – A luxury yacht belonging to an Australian media magnate anchored in Madang harbour was boarded by armed men early Friday morning who removed valuable items, it has been revealed.

Madang businessman Sir Peter Barter, who owns the Madang Resort Hotel, said the yacht belonged to billionaire Kerry Stokes.

Stokes owns Channel Seven in Australia, apart from other multi-million dollar business interests.

Sir Peter said in an email message that the armed men boarded the vessel in the early hours of Friday and robbed the family of valuables, including watches, mobile phones and diving equipment.

Sir Peter said the Stokes family flew into Madang on their private jet on Friday.

They were planning to tour Madang but cancelled it because of the incident.

Sir Peter said the yacht had arrived from Cairns on Wednesday and anchored near Kranget Island, about a kilometre from the Madang resort marina. It could not be confirmed who were in the vessel when the armed men entered.

Sir Peter said he offered the family the use of the marina but the crew preferred to anchor off the island.

Sir Peter said the family did not want to make a big deal of the incident but he insisted that the matter be reported to police to investigate.

Sir Peter said yesterday reports of the incident had already reached Cairns and would most likely affect not only tourism but investments in the country. Madang acting provincial police commander Chief Inspector Ben Neneo could not be reached for comment yesterday. But a reliable police source said they had begun investigations.

Director of the Madang Culture Tourism Bureau Jane Naso described the incident as shocking. She confirmed that police were investigating it.

Naso said Madang was a tourist town frequented by overseas visitors every year.

She said the Madang tourism community and town residents condemned the robbery.

"I sincerely apologise to the Stokes family and Cairns on behalf of Madang," she said.

"We will make sure those responsible for what happened will face justice."

In 2014, the Business Review Weekly assessed Stokes’ net worth at A$2.223 billion – making him the 14th richest individual Australian.

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