5 Jul 2006

PNG police launch investigtion after bodies of eight Asians washed ashore

2:44 pm on 5 July 2006

Eight bodies of Asian origin have been found washed up on the coast of southern Papua New Guinea, just north of the Australian border.

PNG police say they did not know the identities or nationalities of the seven men and one woman.

The badly decomposed bodies were buried on the beaches where they washed up near the villages of Sui and Davare.

PNG's Western Province police commander Inspector Mark Yangen says they may have been boatpeople whose vessel capsized, or illegal fishers.

Inspector Yangen says many illegal activities occurred in the border areas between PNG, Papua and Australia, including people trafficking, drug and gun-running and illegal fishing.

He says PNG police are hampered by a lack of resources including boats to monitor and clamp down on such activities.

PNG's Police Commissioner Sam Inguba has directed the trans-national crime unit to investigate and try to determine where the eight people came from and how they ended up dead on the beaches.