The National – Friday, February 11, 2011
By ANGELINE KARIUS
A TAXI operator claimed he was beaten up by traffic officers when he was trying to retrieve his impounded vehicle from the Land Transport car yard yesterday.
Lucas Kiap, 30, from Balg village, Mul district in Western Highlands, claimed that he was denied access to his vehicle after police had it impounded three weeks ago for allegedly having no registration.
Following this, he said he had paid the traffic infringement notice fine of K100 and a release form was given for him to remove his vehicle from the car yard on Tuesday.
“When I went there, I was told that my car keys were missing and had to wait the whole day.
“I was later told that if I had a spare key, then I could remove my car,” he said.
However, Kiap was chased from the car yard to the Gordon police station to seek refuge only to be locked up for three hours without being charged for any criminal offence yesterday morning.
“These officers acted by taking the law into their own hands and, in doing so, had put my life at risk,” he claimed.
However, Land Transport’s enforcement manager Herman Wakia denied saying his men were defending themselves after a quarrel.
Wakia said Kiap had not complied by reporting to the enquiry counter when he went to pick up his Mitsubishi Lancer.
“Kiap entered the premises and directly went to opening the bonnet of the vehicle without reporting to the enquiry counter.
“How would we know if he was the right owner?” he asked.
Wakia added that from previous experience, items from impounded vehicles had gone missing and, therefore, regulations were put in place to ensure checks were made before lawbreakers come in to pay their fines and reclaim their vehicles.
Attempts to get comments from Gordon police station were unsuccessful.