Tougher Drug Laws Needed In PNG, 'Soft' Penalties May Drive Increased Trafficking

In Indonesia the same amount of illicit drug in question would result in the traffickers receiving the death penalty

By Adam Mera

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, August 03, 2016) – The "soft" penalties on drug related offences may be the reason behind the increase in marijuana trafficking and trading around the country, says the head of the police drug enforcement agency.

National Drug and Vice Squad boss Joel Kapinias said this prior to the conviction and sentencing of four men being in possession of a record 220.5kg of marijuana in Port Moresby last month.

This is the biggest bust by Chief Insp Kapinias’ men in recent times.

The convicted traffickers, John Morris, Sutai Tokai, Eva Gano and Matthew Damo received the maximum penalty of two years each with hard labour after the Waigani District Court found them guilty of being in possession of a substantial amount of marijuana.

Damo received another year for admitting to conveying the drug.

A fifth trafficker, Moroi Jacob, who was caught with the four, is on the run after an order for his arrest was handed down by the court.

Insp Kapinias said according to the laws of our nearest neighbour, Indonesia, such an amount of illicit drug will result in the traffickers receiving the death penalty.

It is understood that for Indonesia three years jail with hard labour is the penalty for being in possession of a joint of the illicit drug.

Mr Kapinias said if the penalties imposed were like that of our neighbor, it will definitely help a lot in curbing the crime.

He said harsher laws need to be introduced as the meager penalties have done nothing, despite tireless efforts by his men in terms of intelligence gathering, investigating, catching and apprehending the perpetrators.

He also appealed to relevant agencies to boost the work of his men with more funding.

He said manpower is also an issue which needs to be alleviated.

Despite the setbacks, he praised his men in arresting the four drug traffickers.

PNG Post-Courier
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