16 Oct 2003

PNG government finds no gold in New Ireland hunt

5:05 pm on 16 October 2003

The Papua New Guinea government says investigators have found no evidence of a fabled hoard of gold in New Ireland province

Earlier this month, the government deployed soldiers and police to the province to search for the rumoured gold, which many believed was a hoax.

A landowner says he's concerned about damage to the environment following the search for the gold allegedly left by Japanese soldiers during the Second World War.

John Merebo, a building contractor, says they cordoned off a search area, dynamited land, imposed curfews and threatened locals.

Mr Merebo says they left as suddenly as they arrived, but villages are now left to recover from the incursion.

"That has caused quite a considerable damages especially to the environment, just for a short time of activity. Blasting and even lives were threatened by security forces and there was honestly anxiety amongst locals."

John Merebo.