3 Nov 2004

Documentary on PNG forestry says sanctioned police brutality a feature of the industry

4:26 pm on 3 November 2004

An Australian television programme, to be aired tonight police brutality and cover-ups are at the heart of Papua New Guinea's logging industry.

The SBS Television reporter Bronwyn Adcock had her passport seized by PNG authorities last week while she was investigating the industry for the report.

Ms Adcock spoke to Constable Emmanuel Bani, a member of the Southern Command Task Force, who claims there was an understanding that he and his fellow officers were expected to use violence on workers and landowners in the Western province.

He told the programme, they bashed the workers with huge irons.

Constable Bani says he apologises for what he has done but was following orders and needed the job.

He told Ms Adcock he sometimes took orders for violence directly from the local management of Malaysian logging company Rimbunan Hijau which also paid him a daily allowance and lump sum payments.

Constable Bani says covering up the police brutality in the logging camps was also part of his job, and described how he once made death threats to two landowners if they told anybody how they had received major injuries.

Rimbunan Hijau has denied the allegations made on the program.