Hagen police deny destroying market

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, March 23, 2011

POLICE have denied destroying goods belonging to vendors at the Mt Hagen market on Monday afternoon.
Provincial police commander Chief Supt Kaiglo Ambane said yesterday that vendors attacked his policemen when they stopped them from conducting illegal activities in the city.
Ambane said the city was the pride of the highlands people but a minority, as the group of betelnut vendors, destroyed the city’s image.
He said the Mt Hagen city authority had allocated eight different spots for the people engaged in informal sector to sell their goods but they left these locations and carried out their illegal businesses elsewhere in the city.
Ambane said heaps of rubbish filled the front of the Chimbu, Goroka,  Lae and Madang bus stop and also around the main market and did not portray a good image of the city to visitors.
He urged youths selling goods at the bus stop and around the market’s fencing to stop trading there.
He said there was no control at these locations and people were scared to go into the main market or wait there to catch PMV buses.
Ambane said if the majority of the people took pride in the city and looked after it, the same must apply to other people as carrying out sales in the informal sector.
He was responding to claims by betelnut and cigarette vendors at the Mt Hagen city market that police personnel took them to the police station and removed from them their money and mobile phones.
The vendors said the policemen also destroyed their market wares and confiscated the things they were selling like their betelnuts and cigarette packets.
The vendors, who requested anonymity, said they respected the police for enforcing the city rules but it was not good when they checked their pockets and got their money and other personal belongings.
They said if police destroyed their markets and took away their goods, they would understand because they broke the city rules to sell near the bus stop and main market.
Authorities, on the other hand, said that there were proper designated areas for such activities and vendors must make use of these locations.