Breakthrough in hunt

National, Normal


PORT Moresby police have established some strong leads, including the involvement of Bomana jail escapees, into the K60,000 robbery at a major shopping outlet at North Waigani, NCD, last Sunday.
National Capital District police chief, Supt Fred Yakasa, told reporters yesterday that police believed some of the prisoners, who had been on the run since Sept 27, were involved in the robbery.
Supt Yakasa said the gang entered the shop premises and knew exactly where to go to steal the money.
Earlier, he announced that an escapee was among more than 50 suspects rounded up in a police dawn raid at Tete Settlement, in Port Moresby yesterday.
All suspects were taken to the Gerehu police station, currently operating as the command centre for the “Holim pas kalabus”, a combined operation by police and Correctional Services that was launched on Saturday to recapture the escapees.
The operation, that was into its second day, saw results yesterday morning with the successful capturing of an escapee whose identity was established during the screening process.
Paul Gumasa was convicted for the murder of a former employee of National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in a massacre that occurred in 2004, Supt Yakasa said.
The police chief, in a media conference at the command centre, said all suspects detained yesterday went through a screening process for other wanted crimes that were committed as well before they were processed and released.
He added that three convicts responsible for the wilful murder of Sir George Constantinou were also within the vicinity of the Tete area but slipped away to the other side of the hills when they heard approaching police vehicles.
Supt Yakasa said police would also be checking out people who had been harbouring the escapees and those responsible would be severely dealt with.
He said with the mass number of escapees still on the run, the effects of the escape would have a big impact on crime in the city and the neighbouring provinces.
“We are making do with what we have,” Supt Yakasa said.
However, he said police needed some basic resources for the operations.
Supt Yakasa also reiterated calls for the public to assist in the lead up to the whereabouts of the escapees and appealed to the escapees to surrender and serve their terms by completing the justice process before they were released accordingly.
But he said some of the remandees who had escaped were more likely to have fled through sheer frustration from lengthy periods of waiting for their court cases to be heard.
With 47 escapees still at large, Supt Yakasa has called on the public to report any sighting of escapees using the hotlines: 340 2967 or 340 8901.
He also confirmed another robbery, at the National Capital District Commission Hall on Tuesday morning where thugs made off with more than K19,000.
Police said it was money that was going to be used to pay city rangers.
Supt Yakasa said there were “pocket robberies” occurring around the city, cautioning the public to be careful when moving about with large amounts of money.