SO what is the name of one of PNG’s most wanted, if not the most wanted criminal?
Is it to be Kapis as Minister for Commerce and Industry, Gabriel Kapris, would have us believe?
Or is it William Kapris Nanua as the prisoner himself told the National Court when the matter of the name confusion was put to him by His Honour, Justice Panuel Mogish, during the trial?
The Minister claims that the single “r” between “p” and “s” is life- threatening for him as he (the Minister) might be mistaken for the criminal.
We think not.
Papua New Guineans share the same names all over the country so it is rather intriguing that the Minister keeps trying to peg a different name to the escaped prisoner when the man himself wants to be known as Kapris.
There is something deeper, however, in this matter of name confusion.
It shows the lack of thoroughness by the State investigating team. And it is this same lack of thoroughness that allows criminals to slip through the clutches of PNG’s law enforcement system time and again.
There needs to be a proper psychological profile on every dangerous criminal in the country. There should be a complete dossier on each person who decides to step on the other side of the law.
People do not just switch to crime on the spot. They get drawn to it over time by circumstances and influences at home, at school or in the workplace.
Police, the law and even prison officers need to know who they are dealing with.
Have police interviewed any close family members of the criminals they are seeking? They need to establish which school the criminal attended and what grades he attained. What were his hobbies? What was his family life at home like? How was he raised? What was his character like as a child at home and in school?
There has to be a point at which the person “is turned” from being a law-abiding person to a criminal.
Only with such a profile can police and State agencies know what the nature of the criminal is and whether or not he can be “turned back”.
What are his weak points and his strengths? Does he have a lover, a wife or perhaps several? What about children?
Does he drink – mildly, moderately, is he a habitual drunk? Does he do drugs?
What kind of weapons does he carry around him? Is he any good with them? Has he killed before?
A case in point is the conflicting information coming from police and the Correctional Services (CS) in relation to the escapee, Oliver Ben Gabi, who was captured last Friday hiding in the bushes of Sogeri outside Port Moresby.
Police said Gabi is of mixed Goroka and Tolai parentage but was raised in West New Britain.
Information sent out by the CS soon after the jailbreak suggests that Gabi is a remandee who comes from Dumbit village in Maprik, East Sepik province.
It might appear to be a small oversight but it can be opened into a big enough hole for Gabi to escape to freedom and this one sanctioned by the courts on the grounds that Gabi is not the one who either the Police or CS claim him to be.
Detailed investigations into the background of the persons assist the police to strengthen their case against a criminal or to track down one if he has escaped as in the present case.
Criminals on the run might leave a trace if they acted alone or lived in the homes of strangers. It would be a far more difficult trail to follow if they were taken into homes of those people they know well such as friends and relatives.
So it does pay for police to know who those relatives and friends are and to visit them for casual interview. If the relatives know that the police also know who they are, it makes it far more difficult for them to aid the criminal.
This is basic police work: Attention to detail, talking to anybody remotely connected to the wanted person or anybody near the scene of the crime.
In the current escapee case, there are far too many clues and far too many people involved that a thorough investigatory ground work should give the police the clues as to why this particular group chose to escape and if they can at least deduce that, they should know where they are headed.