9 Mar 2005

PNG's Morobe governor wants ID cards to fight crime

4:45 pm on 9 March 2005

The governor of Papua New Guinea's Morobe province says he hopes to go ahead soon with a plan to issue identity cards to everyone in the provincial capital, Lae, over the age of 15.

Luther Wenge says his plan would see cards issued to more than 200,000 people in Lae, which is the country's second largest city and a major industrial centre.

Following a recent report that the city has on average an armed robbery a day, police there said they would not hesitate to shoot to kill if confronted with danger.

Mr Wenge says PNG media have overstated the crime situation, but action is needed to improve matters.

He says the ID system would involve interviewing adults and recording key details.

"And we also have it in our record who is who, living where, doing what, from where, all those things. So in the event there is information that somebody is committing crimes or about to commit crimes there or suspecting illegal activities emanating there then we know who is living there and we are able to track them down."

Mr Wenge says the ID system could cost about 32,000 US dollars, and he hopes to be in a position to introduce legislation in the provincial assembly within the month.