By MALUM NALU
CUSTOMS authorities in Lae have seized a shipment of police firearms sent from South Korea to Port Moresby.
The guns ― about 280 ― have been locked up at the Defence Force Igam Barracks in Lae.
Customs Chief Commissioner Ray Paul could not be contacted for a comment yesterday. He was reportedly out of town. But a source in Customs told The National that they had completed an internal investigation on how the guns ended up in Lae when they were supposed to come to Port Moresby.
“It’s a very large consignment. It’s not one or two weapons,” the source said.
“There are 200-plus semi-automatic weapons. How did the container end up in Lae? Port Moresby is an international wharf.
“Once the consignment leaves there (Korea), it has to go straight to the place of discharge (Port Moresby).”
Police Commissioner Gari Baki confirmed that the guns ordered by the police were supposed to be received in Port Moresby.
“What has happened was that the shipment ended up in Lae when it was supposed to be in Port Moresby,” he said.
“The shipping company that was supposed to do the transfer from Lae to Port Moresby failed to do its part.
“As a result, the container was left at the (Lae) wharf and Customs took it into custody.
“I’ve actually directed for it to be picked up and kept in Lae for safekeeping and that’s where it is.”
Baki could not give the exact number of guns and only said “they are police weapons”.
He said the order was placed two years ago.
“The international route is from Busan in Korea to Lae. It (ship) does not do the domestic transfer from Lae to Port Moresby,” Baki said.
“That’s where it ended up. The company responsible for shipping them from Lae to Port Moresby did not do the transfer.
“The container was left in Lae for a couple of days before Customs realised that it was still in their yard.”
He said there was nothing sinister about the shipment as they were “official police firearms” being cleared by Customs.
By MALUM NALU