A VILLAGE near the Highlands Highway staged an all-day party yesterday from beer and soft drinks stolen from a semi-trailer bound for Mt Hagen from Lae.
A semi-trailer carrying 3,000 cartons of Coca-Cola and beer ran off the road at Daulo Pass, as it was descending to Watabung. The incident happened around 10:30am yesterday.
Sensing that the hauling truck with two shipping containers had been ditched, people in the area converged on it. Policemen from Watabung and Asaro were outnumbered by hundreds of people that gathered.
The crowd cut open the containers and looted its contents.
Daulo district highway patrol officer David Kilo said the truck had a mechanical fault and the driver ditched the truck on the right side of the highway.
He said locals took advantage of the abandoned vehicle and its contents and cut open the two containers that the truck was carrying.
They looted 1,500 cartons of beer and 1,500 cartons of Coca-Cola.
Mr Kilo said when the crowd heading towards the truck increased, they called for reinforcement from Goroka. But their backup did not arrive until around 1pm.
By then, a lot of people, including school children, were seen drinking beer and Coca-Cola and running around like they were at a party. The police could do little.
None of the Coca-Cola or the beer cartons were retrieved. Some of those that ransacked the truck sold
their loot. They priced a bottle of beer for K1 and 500ml Coca-Cola bottle for 50t. The truck, which was owned by East West Transport, was transporting the containers from Lae to Mt Hagen.
The truck was later towed back to Goroka.
Because of the large number of drunk people in the area, including some school children, there were concerns about mishaps along the Daulo Pass and threats to other vehicles that were running along the highway.