26 May 2009

PNG's Somare blames police and immigration for anti-Asian rioting

8:26 am on 26 May 2009

Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare is blaming corruption in the police force and immigration department for a recent wave of anti-Asian rioting and looting.

Sir Michael says he was "embarrassed" and "appalled" by "a handful of hooligans and rascals" who have attacked Asian businesses.

He says chinese citizens and businesses have been victimised by our criminals.

He says the government condemns the criminal actions against the Chinese.

Many traders in PNG feel an influx of 'new Chinese' have squeezed them out of small businesses, denying them the benefits of PNG's sustained economic growth.

Allegations of increased Chinese-organised crime and corruption, involving PNG officials, have also added to 'grassroots' community anger.

Sir Michael alleges corruption in PNG's police force is also a contributing factor.

He says corrupt officers will get their marching orders if they are found not to be fit for police work.

During a recent week of violence, local media reported PNG police shot four looters in the Highlands region while in Lae, PNG's second biggest city, two looters were killed.